Thursday, January 21, 2016

I lower the door of my car boot enough to see, approaching the yoke of cottages that join Well Road and The Borough, a woman walking slightly ahead of a little boy on a bicycle. My spectacles are on the dashboard; I cannot determine if these are people I know. The boy lingers next to one of the garden gates, and gazes through the slats at a barking dog, whilst the woman continues walking, looking directly at me. I recognise her as someone from the school run.

I lift the door fully. "You will find this funny," she says. I greet her with a "Hi," my face's quizzical expression inviting her to elucidate. "We were talking to Rufus last night about what people in the village do for a living, and he thought you were in the army." She can see that I am mystified, and so tugs on the cuff of my jacket. "Because you wear this army jacket," she adds, laughing. "Oh. Right," I say. "Yes, well he didn't believe us when we told him you're a house husband." I am about to say "I'm not a house husband," when Rufus, having caught up with his mother, points to the granite blocks in the back of my car, and says: "What's that?" "It's granite for our garden," I rejoin. He cycles on without acknowledging my reply.

I wonder if he has been taken on his rites of passage trip by now. His father once told me that, when his son is old enough, he will take him for a drive through the "estate parts" of the village, to make him grateful for what he has in life. He went on to say that he only drives German cars.

I am unloading granite from the boot of this Japanese car. Infrequently, when there are no other spaces along The Borough, I have opted to park my blue Honda Stream on the road outside Rufus's dad's house, but recently, on such occasions, when I have come back to it in the morning, one of the windscreen wipers is jutting out reproachfully.