Wednesday 29th June 2011
Moving onward, looking back
RAIN, soft and refreshing, greeted our walk through the pen, out of the gate and along the stone highway to where a cage was waiting, on the roof of which I could read the name ‘Taxi’. As we entered the section containing the long seat, I noticed a figure at the helm, who set the cage in motion as soon as we had closed the side panel.
There was no shouting voice to accompany the sound of the engine starting, only Arthur, calmly reassuring me:
“Now, Virgulle, we go. No more Martin, no more house a rest.”
The cage took us up the twisting lanes of night. Between trees I caught glimpses of a lemon slice of moon. The highway seemed to pass a number of settlements, but I was more concerned to know our course’s destination, of which my rescuer gave only an ambiguous hint:
“Where go we, Arthur?”
“Be and be.”
I did his bidding and spoke no more, despite having many pressing enquiries. I sensed Arthur did not wish any conversation between us to be overheard by Mr Taxi.
The cage rolled on.
Arthur took a plastic canister from his back-sack and offered me fruit, cheese and some thin biscuits. These, I would hazard, left a sweeter taste in the mouth than that being savoured by Martin and Gary, assuming that they had, by now, gone into the kitchen and noticed the absence of their cooks.
It would be many months before Arthur explained to me how he had spent the previous hours: collecting provisions, seeking new accommodation, and despatching through the postal service a package to Martin and Gary, which returned the monies paid to Arthur for the language lessons, along with a letter, in which he insisted he was acting in what he identified as my best interests: a guest in this land, I should be granted opportunities to learn from wider day-to-day experiences; moreover, having my photograph printed in certain newspapers was neither necessary nor justified.
Arthur still smiles when recalling the closing words of that missive:
PS Your dinner’s in the oven.