Monday, April 25, 2005

Now, Let Me See...

Where were we? Ah, yes, Birmingham. Well, not quite.

(In case you were wondering the damage to Lori Gottlieb’s Stick Figure, portrayed in the previous post, was caused by water-damage from the fire. I’d only just purchased it from Amazon too.)

I awoke on Saturday full of anxiety at the thought of having to make the first train journey I’ve made for a couple of years. Mother had convinced me to stay overnight at ‘home’. I was born on the Isle of Wight but brought up in Birmingham. (Not Alabama, unfortunately. No, the one whose car industry has just collapsed.) And, before anyone asks, no, I don’t have that accent.

I said ‘Goodbye’ to Bella as she rubbed up against me. I had arranged for Doug to feed and take care of her. I will miss the warmth of her small furry body against my own while I sleep. I packed an overnight bag in a hurry and left for the station. The train journey seemed to take us all around the world. Three hours to be precise. ‘Are you sure we’re not dropping in on Siberia,’ I muttered as the guard announced the stations at which we would be stopping. I spent most of the journey sleeping, my forehead resting against the window. I had the seat to myself until we reached Leicester when a guy embarked and plonked himself next to me. He played a rather noisy game on his mobile ‘phone for the rest of the journey. The sun shining through the window made me sleepy and my head lolled. I almost found myself resting on my neighbour’s shoulder once or twice. I didn’t do that horrid dribbling thing though. (At least, I don’t think I did. I wish I could take a sign on board trains and buses with me saying ‘I have a Contagious disease. Sit Down Next to Me and Your Life Will Be At Risk.)

I was still half asleep when I left the station at stepped out into the cold (well, to me anyway) air of Birmingham City Centre. I hardly recognised it. I felt like that character Will must have felt in Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife; as though I had cut a hole in the air and had gained access to a parallel universe.

(To Be Continued)


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