Home: A Novel; Brief Outline

Wherever I look, things seem to be disappearing. Red phone boxes, railway stations, lighthouses. Corner newsagents with buckets and spades hanging out for sale. Wooden beach huts painted in pastel colours with little kitchens inside them. Old things, things I've got used to, that aren't there any more. They're all vanishing, one by one, not exactly without warning but quietly, completely, without a fight. Gardens are being paved over, old pubs demolished, and the ruins tidied away until there's nothing left to recognize, least of all a name. As Alex says at least once a week, pubs don't have names any more, or rather they have the names of the people who own them, always two names, like a firm of lawyers. The old names vanish, their painted signboards taken away in the skip. And the pavement's swept clean of them. [Read]


I buried him myself. Deep, in the graveyard of the village where we used to live. It took me the whole of the longest night of the year, shovelling soil in the dark until there was no more soil, and when it was all gone I emptied my library of hard-backed books and brought them there one by one and piled them on top of him and added a few stones for good measure. It took all the books and stones I could carry to weigh him down, because he was so light, as light as bones with his wispy hair and windblown hands and voice that shredded all the words he threw away. [Read]


He says there used to be trains here. He says that if you stand and lean over the concrete wall at the north end of the car park you can smell the smoke coming out of that blocked-up tunnel with the little door in it. It doesn't matter what floor you're on. Doesn't matter that it's just a hole in the ground with a car park in it and grass and rubbish at the bottom and those purple plants growing all round the sides. Buddleias, he calls them. I lean over and count the white lines of concrete going down until I'm giddy and my thoughts kind of tipping out of my head and I can't smell anything. He says I'm not connecting. He says if you can connect the past with the present you'll be okay, you won't go mad. Odd for somebody who could drink White Lightning for England and been in and out of Saxondale so often, I say, but he says that was after, and he knows what was before. He connects. [Read]

© Roberta J. Dewa 2007