09 July 1999

Travelling

February, 1986. Birmingham New Street Coach Station. Four tired figures, mother, son, brother, sister. Behind them, fifty hours between Faro and London and then a National Express on which they were confused by the variety of crisps. Portugal had only plain and salt 'n' vinegar.

Two days earlier we left, and he stayed behind - though only just. He had come onto the coach to help with luggage and say good-bye, but the driver was in haste to leave and pulled away with all five of us on board. I remember him sleepily stumbling, clambering as quickly as possible to the front in order to persuade the driver to stop, and felt something for him then, something perhaps akin to sympathy, but not quite. The only other time he was shouted out of the house by my mother, and was wearing nothing but a dressing-gown.

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