Friday 10th November
June felt so alone, in the midst of all this chaos, and she had no-one to talk to. Phil had gone and run away, as if that was going to solve anything. Was this his way of taking revenge on her, paying her back for Ted? She had never had anyone to talk to; that was half the trouble. Even her sister Julie had never confided in her, even as a child she had made it plain that she didn’t want to hang around with June, she had her own friends, thank-you very much. ‘And,’ she thought, ‘if you had ever met my mother you would know straight away that you would get no sympathy from her.’ The few friends she had before she got married had drifted away from her too, all busy with their own lives now so she was all alone. ‘Even my daughters didn’t want to know me. Harriet of course, hates me, as she had done silently for years, only now it was out in the open, and Jane, Jane was a strange one, always brooding and keeping herself to herself, I have no idea what she was thinking. I have lost touch with her too, so here I am having to deal with questions from the Police as if I am a common criminal and no-one to talk to at all. I just wanted it all to stop and all I can do is cry, like some child unable to cope with life.’ Maybe she was crying for herself, for the wretched mess she was in, for being abandoned by everyone; Ted, safely back in the clutches of her sister; Phil run away like the coward he was; Jane out somewhere as if being with her mother was too unbearable; and Harriet, even Harriet, who in her blithe way had done so much damage, had escaped. ‘And even though I don’t deserve any pity surely I don’t deserve this. It is all too much, and any sympathy I had felt for Phil is disappearing fast as day after day passes with no sign of him. He has simply disappeared without a word. I am beginning to get angry now because at least if I am angry I’m not feeling so sorry for myself.’
* * *
Harriet had felt so desperate and lonely on that train back to Leeds; it sometimes felt as if her whole life was being spent in these pointless train journeys. Only, she always arrived back where she started from. And now she really had no idea what was happening any more. She had found her mother and her uncle in bed together, and in her wildest dreams she couldn’t imagine anything worse. She knew it was stupid but despite herself she couldn’t face her classes anymore, not that she had cared much about that for weeks now, her heart just wasn’t in it. She had no interest in stuffing her brain with stupid knowledge she would never need. She drifted round to Jim’s pad that evening and scored some stuff. She just wanted to be out of it. What difference did it make now? A couple of days ago she was determined to kick this stupid habit and was determined to start a new life in London. And now her stupid selfish mother had spoilt everything. Every time she felt she was getting somewhere, something kept dragging her back down. What else could possibly go wrong with her life now? So, she just sat there like a dummy and got smacked out of it, as if there was nothing else to live for, besides it was easier than constantly going over and over it again. She desperately needed to get my head free and stop thinking about her mother. She needed to think about something else, or rather to not think about anything at all. She just wanted to shut her mind down, to stop the thoughts from crowding her out, because try as she might she felt she was losing herself amidst all that other stuff that was in there. It was as if her mother was trying to dominate her thoughts, even here miles away from her Harriet couldn’t escape her.
* * *
Phil can see the sea from here, just a smudge of grey as it blends into the sky, but the sea nevertheless. If he squints a bit he can just make out the horizon, and occasionally a boat drifts by. He never gets tired of watching as the boat slowly drifts along the horizon, he can’t really tell how big the boats are, larger than fishing boats he thinks, but they are a long way away and all he can really see is a faint black mark on the dark green-grey sea.
His family lived only a few miles from the sea in Norwich but they might as well have been in the middle of the Sahara for all the sea he ever saw as a child. His dad worked long hours and lots of weekends, and he cannot really remember many holidays as a child, at least not by the sea-side. But it is peaceful here, and quiet, so quiet. And the most wonderful thing is he is all alone. No phone ringing, no wretched secretary with papers to sign, no-one to answer to, no-one to worry about any more, just the sea out there to look at. No newspapers, no television and no radio to listen to. Silence at last.