Thursday, 12 May 2011

...of welcome

The whir and rattle of the bus was a rhythmic percussion syncopating the anger in my heart into a steady, throbbing hate, until I felt rather light-headed. I disembarked outside the London Hospital and walked towards Commercial Road and Priddle Street where the Seales lived. As I turned into the narrow roadway I could see the drearily ornate hearse parked there, and the small group of curiosity-seekers who somehow always materialise to gape open-mouthed on the misery of others. And then I stopped, feeling suddenly washed clean, whole and alive again. Tears were in my eyes, unashamedly, for there, standing in a close, separate group on the pavement outside Seales' door was my class, my children, all or nearly all of them, smart and self-conscious in their best clothes. O God, forgive me for the hateful thoughts, because I love them, these brutal, disarming bastards, I love them...
I hurried over to join them to be again with them, a part of them. They welcomed me silently, pride and something else shining in their eyes as they gathered close around me. I felt something soft pressed into my hand, and as I looked round into the clear, shining eyes of Pamela Dare, I dried my own eyes with the tiny handkerchief.

[To Sir, With Love, Braithwaite, E. R.]

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