Approaching home, I feel the familiar draw, the tensions, as I drive the A-road, passed the tree-lined conurbations and out-of-town industrial estates: home town, home grown;

but no town, not my town, a placeless, nameless drop on the fielded rise and falls towards the distant hills.

My father: shoulders loose, moving forward, a ready smile.

My mother: keenly, bristling forward, you are safe.

The scene is set:

Mr X, reclined and alert, the athletic din, the show of camaraderie, blasting and scores and rides and shouts and tricks: time is occupied, crystal glass in hand.

Mrs X, bustling questioning asking inquiring offering relaying giving ; moving in and out of all these spaces: she is adept, this is her skill, honed over many years, a skill that is now familiar to me; we converse in each other’s spaces.

We negotiate the box of old things, things past, assigned to me;

those ‘you remember that!’ things,

those ‘you sure you don’t want that?’ things;

smile and take some, some taken and put into another box, my box again.

At the bottom, a silver cup with a silver nametag inside. The nametag says ‘phillip’, phillip with two Ls.

‘you remember that? Oh, you won’t you were too young..’

Two Ls?, I thought. That’s not me.photo(5)

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