Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Moments of realisation 3
Gordon came from a poor but happy family. He had two elder brothers and a sister. His dad had been a bus-driver, who had steered his bus through the Blitz.
The family scattered to the four corners of London. Tony and Joan worked in banks while Kevin was a driving instructor. Gordon worked on the Underground. Unlike the others he didn’t marry. They came together at Christmas and other big family occasions.
Gordon was short and blond and thickset. He was slow moving and affable. His brothers and his sister were tall, birdlike and dark. Their dad, long dead, had been spindly too, clambering into his bus like a balding stick insect.
They were all together for Easter at Kevin’s house, Gordon now in his forties. They were sitting around Mum’s old table knocking back Kevin’s home-made wine when Gordon noticed Tony and Kevin were now very sparse on top. Like Joan, they both sported thick bi-focals and now the boys were beginning to look exactly like their dad.
And Gordon realised he didn’t. In fact he didn’t look like any of them. He took another slurp of wine and stared closely at them all. His brow furrowed.
“Why don’t I look like you?” Gordon asked finally.
Tony, Kevin and Joan tried to laugh it off.
“Not enough beauty to go round, Gordie.” joked Tony. “Sorry.”
“I don’t look anything like you. Nothing like.” Gordon’s voice rose. “You look like Dad.”
“Wine’s stronger than you think, old mate,” admonished Kevin.
Tony eased Gordon into the lounge while Kevin called him a cab home. They all waved him off from the porch.
“I’m not telling him,” said Joan, “ promised Mum.”
“Break his heart,” replied Tony, “better this way.”
But Gordon knew.