JF

I put out maps, books – some of which I’d written. When I came to the van, all were put aside. The maps were useless as I gathered in a phone call later from a desperate JF saying he could not remember the way from Halesworth to the van, a mile up the road. I wonder if he knew where he was geographically. A week he stayed on the park, yet only on the last day when walking around the woodland, I said, there is the lake, he said, I had not idea there was a lake here. A lake of 2 acres a stones throw from the van.
The walk around the woodland was the first time I had alone with him. After what – 20 years? We used to go out with each other, I with this now stranger. Now a married man with 2 boys. Now recently separated. The woodland walk, though ancient oak, yew tree plantation, Holme oak, Hornbeam curls of trunks, he talked all the way. All the way of H, his estranged wife. That was what was in his head, her life, or ‘narrative’, the word he used to describe their different world views. Not once did he answer the dogs frequent request (stick at his feet) to throw a stick.
And how was Sofi, I asked, a woman I’d met through him, befriended, loved, but lost contact with.
He’d talked with her two years ago, when the H relationship came to a head.
I don’t really know, he said. And that said it all. Should Sofi ask the same of him of me, he would have to say the same. He did not ask.
He loved his boys, his boys who played incessantly on computers, who shared the same disregard of their physical surroundings, who replied with a vocabulary and phrases of an adult, but beat to death dragonflies on the river Waveney, and recoiled at the idea of swimming in it, who told me that they were sitting too low in the passenger seat, for if we had an accident the air bag would explode in their faces. Oh different species.

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