For the first seventeen days Vince didn’t eat a single thing. He quickly became skinny and weak, unable to stay awake for more than a few hours at a time. When he did fall asleep it wouldn’t be for long and he often woke abruptly, shaking from the after shocks of a nightmare.
For the first six weeks Vince couldn’t be in the flat by himself. It was disruptive for everyone else, but they knew that Vince’s needs were far greater than their own. The first time he was left alone he sat in the corner of the kitchen and cried into the photo album, tears smudging all of their memories.
For the first five months Vince wasn’t able to leave the flat. Every time someone tried to get him outside he would burst into tears. He spent the lonely days sitting in his bedroom with the lights off, not making a sound. He tried to think of nothing, but his mind was too imaginative, and the images it conjured frightened him. Sometimes Bollo would sit with him and talk; just something to fill the silence.
For the first year Vince didn’t wash or move any of Howard’s possessions, apart from one old jumper, which he wore to bed every night. He kept Howard’s side of the room exactly the same, never tidying it or redecorating, even when the paint began to peel. Then, one day, when he woke up, everything which was his had gone. He screamed at Naboo for twenty minutes, choking back tears and trying to control his breathing. When he finally stopped neither of the men said anything, but it was the first and only time that Naboo hugged Vince.
For the rest of Vince’s life he never went one day without thinking about Howard. Every year he mourned for the jazz maverick, taking flowers to his grave. He slowly began to move on with his life, but he never once forgot about him and he never found anyone who could replace him. He never met another person who loved him as much as Howard had.