The first time they met it was to say goodbye. Mutual friends were moving out of London. They talked all night, only stopping to make another Lemsip, Sue had a heavy cold. In the morning they went out for breakfast, already settling into the ritual of dividing the Sunday  papers with Ben temporarily distracted by the sports pages. Two years later they moved in together. This was the first piece of furniture they bought for their new place. Ben found it on Essex Road, the shop keeper said it was £30. Ben carefully disguised his excitement and handed over the money. The table was delivered as part of the deal. Today, ten years on, its beautiful elm top, already marked from a previous life, is variously dusted with flour for pizza making, scattered with their son Riley’s pens and pencils and hidden under the bulk of the Sunday papers.

27 Jan 2013