11.14, Thursday 12 Dec 2002

So here's what happened today fourteen years ago, which was a Monday, and in the afternoon after school so about half past three, when I was ten. David said to me on the way to learn and play badminton at the Village Hall, Did I know there had been a train crash this morning, the 06.14 from Poole?, and I said that I didn't know, but that I thought my father caught the train at 06.50, so he wouldn't have been in it. That was the 06.50 from Brockenhurst however, but the penny didn't drop until much later, after badminton, when Francis one of mother's friends, came to pick me up. Which never happened, I'd always before been left to my own devices to try and meet the lift home, so I knew something was wrong and felt it in my stomach.

And here's what happened next. Mother was at Kathy and Andy's house, and she was about to leave for London to go to the hospital, and I wasn't allowed to watch the news that night at all.

And here's what happened then, on the next day, the Tuesday of 1988. I tried to go to school and my teacher talked to me, and he was very kind, and I still remember it now, but really school wasn't a good idea so Terry took me to the school he was headmaster of and I talked with kids with special needs all day and concentrated on their problems instead. One was there for throwing tables around the classroom.

But before that: Kathy gave me a cup of tea with sugar in, my first cup of tea ever, to help calm me. By the big glass window, a christmas tree; a cat; a joke about the two. This is vivid, this memory.

Since then. Francis left her husband, Terry went to prison for doing awful things, and Kathy died and did nothing wrong at all. How things change!

But before that, first thing that morning,

I came downstairs and saw mother sitting on the sofa ahead of me and to the right and I looked at her and she didn't say anything and I said "Is he dead?" and speaking about my father like that in the third person always seems kind of disrespectful somehow so I don't know why I said it like that but besides how did I know anyway, it just coalesced inside of me, into those words, bubbled up without me knowing, and even before she answered I knew I was right. And this is how she answered: she said nothing, and she looked at me and I looked at her. Maybe she nodded, a fraction, or maybe there was a tiny nod that didn't happen but we both could feel.

And I wanted to howl like a wolf and grow and smash everything up, and I wanted not to be there, stuck in this Now, and what I did was curl up and lie on the sofa and not speak and not cry until mother said "Are you alright?"

If there's any defining moment, any formative event that creates a person, which there's not and really I don't believe there is: That's it.

If everything about me can be traced back to an ultimate cause, if I'm an expansion from first principles, a condensation of a reality expanded from a single point, a tissue-rhizome of beliefs and values unfolded like a chinese puzzle, then my singularity was when I was ten, fourteen years ago today, which like I said, in 1988, was a Monday.

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