It started on Abbey’s sixteenth birthday. We’d only been going out a couple of months, and I was coming back from holiday when I realized I hadn’t got her a card. The card shop at the airport had a pretty rubbish selection, and the only vaguely birthday-related one said ‘You are 8 today!’ and had a big colourful badge on the front. I gave it to her that night and she’d cracked up laughing.
After that, it snowballed: every Christmas, birthday and anniversary, we competed to see which of us could give the most random, obscure, inappropriate card.
“”The dead,” she replied, her voice a breathy whisper. “If you sit and listen sometimes, you can hear the voices of the dead. They rise up from all around us, from cracks in the earth. That’s how the dead tell you their secrets.”