I sat in the compartment alone until after we pulled out of Bristol Temple Meads. It was early, the light just creeping across the July sky, turning fields and towns first grey then hazy pink. The distant puff and chuckle of the engine, combined with the rhythmic beat of the tracks below almost lulled me back to sleep, my eyelids drooping pleasantly as I watched the light English drizzle spatter the car window. The vague scent of tobacco that lingered in the fabric of the seats reminded me of my father, a man I admired, looked up to and emulated, following him first into the air force, then into civilian life as an accountant.
If there was one man who never showed me an ounce of kindness, it was my father.
“He would have his hair cut or he would find another job.”