The most passive-aggressive communication I ever received was from a man named David, a note that went, approximately, ”Just writing to say that X died a week ago. The funeral was yesterday. I didn’t go.” X had been central to both of our lives some years before. I hadn’t kept up with her, and I’d drifted away from him too. The note was on lined paper pulled from a spiral bound notebook. There was no return address. I stood by the kitchen stove in my bare feet at half past eight in the morning and wondered why he had sent it. I wasn’t even sure how he knew where to find me.
At that time I lived on the edge of the Peak District in a terrace of small stone houses. They were unprotected from the weather that came down off the moor, and when the wind blew from the east, filled with smoke because the chimneys wouldn’t draw.