Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Chopped liver

Or, the feeling that is dicing your innards as your own flesh and blood leaves the club and goes out on loan.

It'll toughen him up, say the pundits, in a hackneyed and weary attempt to kill it off. Mothers (and they are, mostly) can sound a lot like Lawro sometimes, whether feminists, post-feminists, or - usually - self appointed mouthpieces of the free world.

In the morning, there are a few dull prods of the knife-point: begging - pleading not to be left there - and a sudden wrenching, panicking conviction that none of these people will look after him.

Then Kidsgrove station, and the slow prising of sinew becomes deeper and more intense as the fast trains whisk by rather unlike magic bullets. Suppositories, sir? That's the 09.05 Northern Rail service to Manchester Piccadilly.

At lunchtime a phone call; calculated, professional reassurance is anticipated, but instead there's a pregnant pause. They were about to phone, actually. They wouldn't normally.

Word is there was spontaneous panic at school, so it might be worth picking him up earlier than planned. There's something about him, she says - he's bright - but he's up and down. He's so serious and gets so anxious about what might happen, and she's never seen that in such a young child.

The premature train home breaks down. In my lap, Iain Sinclair is wandering by the A1 in Northants. My head and stomach, meanwhile, are wondering in Macclesfield.

Later, I retrieve the lad from his in-between place. I listen hard for sounds from within, then breathe and knock. Smiles, for now. He's proud of himself having drawn a boat with wheels. And he played oustide today. What a transformation from before, they remark. Those anaesthetic analyses wear off, and there is cautious, limp relief where sharp discomfort used to be.

Still early doors, Saint. And it's still a game of two halves. Tomorrow, he and I have the morning to enjoy ourselves, and we are glad of it.

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