When I walked off the plane I felt like was walking into a damp overcoat a size too small, and wondered whether I’d made a mistake in rejecting Sister Katherine Waters’ offer of a permanent job in New York. But then history would have been different.
Customs checked my hand-made octave mandola, and my 1,500 dollar Gibson mandolin, and asked when and where I’d bought them. England I said. He studied my face for honesty and let me through.
It was wonderful to see old friends again, tramp along country lanes with Bernie and Greg; good to have a decent pint…fish and chips. But already I missed the huge blue skies, the sparkling air, the sense of vast spaces that encouraged big thoughts. The dream of a child in a hospital bed had come and gone, and now I felt like a ghost in my own country. The familiar had become strange.
Even stranger was the fact that someone else was sitting in my chair, at my work desk in school. Someone with eyes that twinkled and a smile that could thaw winter. I lost a chair but gained a wife, but no more shall be said of her here. My wife and children have their own voices, their own story to tell or not tell.