Notes from the Desk – Trip V

One key moment that I can pinpoint when things really started in my mind, when I truly started to question everything was that day I stood on a market stall in the middle of field trying to sell the crap that my father had left me with. He had literally dumped me at this tiny market with a table and a pile of plastic tat that he had bought from an auction somewhere.  

I had a folding camp chair and that was it. No shade, no food, no change to nip off to the toilet of to get a drink. I must have been there for six hours and it was hot, sunny. The relentless afternoon heat was exhausting; the other stall-holders watched me curiously, suspiciously. they jeered at my stock once they realised that I was no threat to their trade. I made £12 in sales and the pitch was £6. The old man picked me up and told me that maybe I’m not up to the job. He was right. 

But in the midst of that day, in the glare of the sun as I sat there exposed to all the world, still wet behind the ears and spotted with teenage acne, fighting a battle between disgust at the way it made my face look and relief that puberty had at last arrived, I woke up, or something in me did. 

I distinctly remember watching the people walking up and down. They were on holiday. The field was one of those that formed the flatlands between the sea and the mountains.

One couple stood out. It was a man and his teenage son. They were walking along, chatting. Both were smiling, sometimes laughing. I thought about it a lot afterwards and while I was watching them. I thought about how I felt seeing these two getting along; how it reflected my relationship with my father and in that moment I might have despaired. I might have allowed the previous couple of years to crash down on me. I could have dissolved into self-pity and wallowed in the disbelief that I was being treated as I was after I have given everything up to leave home and be with him. I felt betrayed and I see now that I was justified in that betrayal; that I could have sought reparations and probably should.  

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