Well, I don’t know what happened there. One minute I was – where was I again? Can’t remember. Never mind, it’ll come back.
But this place I recognise. I remember this. It looks like the old home town, but bigger – built-up, if you like, tall walls – but quiet. So quiet. Apart from the birds, no-one around. Not a peep. Glad to see that everyone is still obeying lockdown. Me, I’m on my daily exercise, thank you. But I feel funny – silly, a bit weepy, like something wonderful is round the corner. Daft.
And that’s something else odd – I know I am two miles from the sea, but I can smell it, really strongly – and who is growing sweet peas, wallflowers, lilac? – it’s like poking my nose into a perfume bottle. It’s right what they say about the air being so much clearer now all the pollution has gone.
And absolutely deserted. Oh hold on, there is a queue – right away down the road. They’re not socially distancing though. I must say they have really gone for the retro look – very Cath Kidston. Well, she’s gone bust, hasn’t she? Perhaps everyone’s snapped up their clobber at sale prices.
Just a minute. I know where this street leads. To the old school, St. Paul’s. Well, the plot of land it stood on I mean. Probably a Sainsbury’s there now. We all went there, Mum, Uncle Peter, me. Hang on, it is still here. But they have built it up, it’s a lot bigger. Well, well. And the headteacher must be a vintage car freak, look at that lovely vehicle. Everyone else has got a cycle I see – glad to see that Boris’ ‘golden age of cycling’ is being taken to heart. Not a mountain bike amongst that lot though. Talk about ‘make do and mend.’
What’s that? Oh, only the school bell. And yes here come the kids, tumbling out. Hey why aren’t you social distancing? Is that only for inside, where your teachers can see? And I know you’re primary school kids, but you are all so big – good nutrition, must be. Love the uniforms – quaint – and the boys in shorts, unusual.
Oh no, what’s that boy put on his face? – it’s a mask, oh I am scared, my memory, something bad. Want to run. Can’t move. Someone is whimpering. Is it me? Calm down, calm down.
Oh my goodness. Look at that girl. Image of Mum, in her confirmation photo. Oh please come here. I want to look at your face. Please come and look at me. She’s coming over.
Oh Mum. Uncanny. Look me in the eyes. Yes. We understand each other. I want to speak to her, but I can’t. No voice.
I see the decision in her eyes. She turns, speaks; “Peter, come and see. I’ve found a lovely little dog. It’s a stray, no collar. I’m going to bring it home to live with us.”
I’ve found it. Home. This is where I belong.