Returning Home

Stephen Shaw
1944 Phenomenology + Pedagogy  
We left the house early, David and I, before the household had really begun to stir and show signs of activity. Mum was up, but temporarily, making her first cup of tea to ease herself into the day. Edgar would sleep for several more hours yet, as was his wont. Muffled sounds of movement from upstairs indicated that Pat was ready to descend and probably sit looking out of the drawing room window at the garden for a while before taking hold of the day and quietly establishing the shape of our ac
more » ... the shape of our ac tivities. After crossing the road we climbed the stile and stepped down into a field that had been freshly manured. I was not shod appropriately, and while David strode resolutely forward to ward the stile on the far side of the field, I skittered and danced spasmodically through the dew-drenched grass and manure, futilely attempting to maintain the semblance of a conversa tion. David's brow was furrowed, and a quizzical smile played across his face as he offered a biting critique of the most recent, heinous machinations of the Thatcher government. Such considerations paled into insignificance as we approached the far hedge and the next stile. An intervening two meters of the field had been churned by the cattle into a sodden, sullen, odoriferous swamp. Suitably booted, David strode oblivious through the quagmire, his stream of invective unabated. With a despairing and almost successful leap, I made the stile leaving only one large, indistinct, and already waterlogged footprint and acquiring an uncomfortable, intermittent squelch. I told David I wanted to take a photograph of the oldest struc ture in the village. Standing where I was, on the stile, I focused my camera on the half-timbered cottage, while David obligingly slowed his pace somewhat and continued to stroll along the lane. For a few moments I watched his receding figure-tall, erect, with the newly familiar, slightly pigeon-toed stride. Quite un aware, I was suddenly enmeshed in a confusing half recollection of barely discernible memories, crosscurrents of emotion that swept raggedly through my consciousness. The knowledge of
doi:10.29173/pandp15140 fatcat:qo72gyvqszhtnmypfenmwchhnm