Sunday, 6 March 2005

the most direct route

All in all, I cover a wound through words. I will only disappoint you, our friendship is an impossibility. If I am calm or infrequent or detached over the next week and month it is because I am viewing lives as bridges, and a relocation to a new timescale and task ordinance always scares me.

I remember travelling along the motorway, in the deep light of late summer, exhausted from visiting an unknown location where my father had to meet a man. Looking back, there were reasons and purposes deliberately secreted within the journey, but I prefer not look back. As we strode down the outside lane, holiday-making traffic easing into the dusk, my father changed gear, slowed and manoeuvred into the slowest lane of three. Without taking his eyes from the road, a stifled technique for a revelation, he told me I was to have a new brother.

I burst into tears. He sped up and careered back across three lanes into the fast lane again.

“Why are you crying?” he shouted above the noise of the engine and the road. “What’s the point? You are supposed to be happy. You’ve got to be happy. I slowed down to tell you that. We could have both been killed. Now we’re going to be late.”

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