The Drive Home
An emotional experience.
I wished to write a story to do with my workplace, V.E.M. Engineering (components manufacturers for domestic appliances), but when I began to write the subject receded from me and I was left with nothing after even an hour of trying.
And so, I shall press on with other matter, or, should I say, let other matters press onto me, for I cannot say that I have chosen this that I am, nor the things that move me.
As I was driving home I remembered that I had to stop off at the supermarket, because I had arranged to go to Peggy's later on for supper, and I felt it incumbent upon me to bring something. Peggy cooked well, and her larder was well stocked and her fridge too: she liked cooking and had a developed interest in food. The food itself was not the problem.
The problem I was about to solve by going to the supermarket was this: that I felt guilty about our relationship. I felt guilty because I knew I could never love Peggy and I knew she deserved love. I also knew that she had not been loved in her life because her heart was too open, so that she gave to soon and too easily and was taken for granted.
I pitied her for that. And with my pity came a sense of shame, and to compensate for my shame I thought of bringing her some cheese to go with the meal. As if she would not notice that I did not love her as one who truly loved her would have done.
I smiled as I drove and thought of the cheese. I remembered my father then: his image faded into my mind's eye as I drove. He was there at the dining table, proselytising about Italian cheeses. The British had been duped, he pronounced. They had been deceived into believing that French cheese was superior to Italian cheese. But, he remonstrated loudly, they were wrong. What was French cheese, but an endless variation on Brie, with peppercorns or fruit foolishly thrown in for the sake of novelty? And what was Roquefort compared with Gorgonzola? And what could possibly rival that King of Cheeses, Parmesan?
He was from Piedmont, and I think that the issue was partly a matter of patriotism for him.
As I thought of that I felt the need to weep, so I pulled over to the hard shoulder and wept on that evening home, for my father had died the week before.
When I arrived at Peggy's she asked me if the traffic was bad, because I was seldom late.
I said that it was and did not mention the weeping.