Today I passed the Malvern Hills – mini Alps – skies storm-washed, pre-sunset. Low sun streaming in my eyes. The man on the radio said there’s trouble again in Sudan. You told me someone said it’s safe – ok to put people in. What are experts anyway?
The Malverns remind me of a dream. The one where we’re walking over high paths like drovers and pack-horsemen of old. The whole world is up there – coming through the turnstiles in the valleys with tickets to roam from town-to-town. And we make it over one more pass before the light goes.
I agonise leaving one home for another. A broken-hearted mother. Freedom tears my heart. Rain hits the windscreen and I push down hard on the gas. Death is somewhere up ahead and I’m drawn to meet it. There’s nothing behind but suffocation.
Left York eleven-fifteen. I’ll make Bristol by three. God-willing.
I’ve driven these roads for thirty years. Pushed my luck. Bikes, vans, lorries, this little rotting memory of my dad. His first and only new car. A life-long dream. All those three-day-weeks, sweating over strikes at Fords. Extra shifts and weekends when he could. Thirty years pushing off – swinging a leg over his bicycle at five-to-eight. Coming home at five. Rusting and hustling down the M5 at eighty-five through the spray.
And the Malverns stand back-lit by sun spilling beneath a water-coloured sky. We walked on there.
I think about Victoria Falls, wishing I was with you.
Copyright Kevin Buckle 2013