If my mother sends flowers from New York it’ll be the first time I’ve received a present from her on my birthday. She said she would. I am trying not to invest anything in this. It’s like trying not to slip on an ice rink – the more you think about it the more likely you are to.
Though I wake at 5.30am The journalist presents my presents at the more likely time of
8am. It’s a beautiful morning. And now I know who John Smedley is, there is no going back. The Journalist leaves and as Rob arrives to continue building the garden. I leave. I swish down Regents canal and through London on my bike listening to Amy Winehouse “they tried to make me go to rehab baby, Noh Noh Noh”. I’m feeling good.
At 11am I meet Ivor Frank, the Barrister. I’ve been trying to get him to the south bank
since meeting at The Cinammon Club by the houses of parliament for the launch of supersonic which we are both part of. Ivor Frank helped formulate The Childrens Act. He too was brought up in childrens homes.
We talked non stop for two hours. I show him around the South Bank and introduced him to the Cape Farewell People whom he has a lot in common as he also got the United Nations to adopt The Declaration on the rights of indiginous people, last September. Ivor works just across the river by The Old Bailley.
At 2pm I met with Henderson, the Director of Index on Censorship whom after ten years service is moving onwards. In that Index On Cenorship is on the frontline of campaigning this ten years Henderson has seen a lot. He has more experience of torture than most.
He spoke of the journalist who was working for his organisation, captured, shot in the head twice. Dead. It’s time to move on.
4pm. At the festival terrace café, I meet Marian Keen Downs from The Letterbox Club for
which along with Jaqueline Wilson I am a patron. The Letterbox club aims to send
books to children in care. Marian works at The Book Trust who administrate The Letterbox Club. We have a quite serious and productive meeting. I tell Marian that today is my birthday. “Did you get what you wanted” she asked. From nowhere, the question of the flowers pours into mind. Up until now I had been protected from the flood. Then someone opened the door. “flowers” I say. “My mother said she’s going to send flowers from New York. It’ll be the first time, if they’ve arrived”. We say goodbye.
At 6pm and I get on my bike back across the river to St Martins Lane and The Noel Coward Theatre to see AVENUE Q with The Journalist.. First we eat on a pavement table of a restaurant and someone walks past who was at the reading in Marleybone last night – Fiona from map consortium! Avenue Q is good not great but The Journalist and I are happy just to spend time kicking back. We are both busy and two nights out in a row is a treat.
She catches the bus home and I race it on my bicycle. After thirty five minutes I reach my front door. It’s a full fifteen minutes before she arrives. I know why I rushed home. I know why I took a deep breath before turning the key. It’s 11.30pm. There’s only thirty minutes left in the day. I turn the key in the door it opens into darkness. I close it and flick the switch. I am on my own for the first time. The hallway seems longer. If the flowers arrived Rob, the gardener would receive them and put them somewhere wouldn’t he. Maybe he hadn’t head the front door bell. ently I step into each room of this damned apartment. I am searching for flowers.
I am searching for flowers. I am getting more and more tense as I reclose each door. What does it matter anyway I tell myself. You can’t miss what you didn’t have. I’ve been telling myself that one all my life. My birthday has traditionally been the day that I do miss what I never had. There is one closed door left, to the kitchen: The favourite room in our apartment. I walk up take a deep breath and open the door.