Sport 13 Spring 1994
I trick you, there isn’t one. I should mention he comes to New Zealand for a conference. He tells his story (and that of his mother) to the old friends he stays with. He tells his story to new friends that he makes. He has to talk about it, it is cathartic. He tells his story to the nice middle aged woman sitting beside him on the plane. I ask him if he will see her on the way back to Wales. No, he says, and he sighs. I have decided to fly back through Singapore. I will wait till the Syrian dies, he says, which will be soon. Then she will come home. I have waited twenty years for the girl I should have married. I can wait a few more months.
If I were her, I could say, and his face would brighten. If I were her, I could say, and I could tell him how I would feel if I were her. But I don’t.
If I were your mother, I could say, and I could tell him that, too.
And if I were your wife, I could say, but by now the look on his face would tell me he’s glad I’m not.
He gets off the plane in Auckland. We stand side by side to get our luggage. We don’t say anything. After all, what is there to say? Anyway, I’m busy looking for the person who’s meeting me. I’m worried I won’t recognise him. It’s so many years since I saw him last.