Liverpool Street Station teeming with people, scurrying about their business as I plunge into the Underground, crowded escalators carrying me into the bowels of the earth, then jammed onto a Central line train packed with strangers, fellow travellers. Unknown, unknowable lives. The District line is quieter, room to sit down, closer to the surface and, finally, three hours after leaving my sleepy Suffolk village, I arrive at Putney Bridge Station surfacing, blinking, into the bright February sunshine and take a deep breath of fresher air.
I set out across Putney Bridge, red London buses, cars, taxis, bicycles, pedestrians, all suspended over the fast-flowing Thames, creating its own spaces, microclimate and ancient rhythms, indifferent to the world that has evolved around it. Then I saw him walking towards me, the tall, dark, handsome young man with his Grandmother's vivid blue eyes and a warm bear hug for me. My first-born son! We walk together, chatting and laughing, exchanging news, so pleased to see each other, into a bustling Saturday Putney High Street, then take a turning into a quieter residential road, following it through towards the Common and a quiet pub for lunch.
The next time I see him will be his Wedding Day.