Friday, May 28, 1982

On having no head

I was supposed to meet Lee outside the library at ten but he didn’t turn up. I left after getting out On Having No Head by D. E. Harding and walked back home along Musgrove Road, hemmed in on one side by the dark grimy façade of Hardwick’s Mill, on the other by a long decaying row of shop frontages, litter strewn pavement, here and there piles of rubble. A certain something about Lockley, a rawness, an unflinching honesty, almost as if the true heart of the city can be seen and judged and experienced there. No pretence; these places fascinate me.

In the afternoon Mum and Dad drove me to the Tesco in Nunstead for my job ‘interview’ which took place in a white sterile office with flickering neons high above the brightly lit supermarket aisles visible through a wide one-way mirror window. I had to wait with a pitsy butterfly feeling in my stomach, my heart thudding, a constant bustle in the office corridors outside, doors squeaking open and shut incessantly.

In comes Mr. Brace–mid thirties, balding, neatly-suited, hard no-nonsense features, clipped tones—and at first he seemed a bit hesitant about the job offer because I’ll be leaving in October and “we like to make sure people will be here a minimum of 6 months.” He was about to leave it at that but suddenly asked me to come in next Wednesday at 4.45. “Mrs. Wilson recommended you in preference to other candidates . . .” Fourteen quid a week.

At home, over tea, I was suddenly filled with gloom and depression at the the thought of my future. I don’t know why. Mum: “It’ll all turn out alright, lad.”

I did a bit of work in the evening and at ten nipped down to Harvey’s for Carol Lancaster’s 18th birthday party. Lee was there in trilby and bowling trousers and round dark specs. I didn’t stay long: Claire glided around before me, a faint echo of the past. . . .

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