Summer crop

Travelling home on a train, it breaks down.

We are all asked to condense into one carriage. Then its air conditioning stops.

I open my soggy newspaper, trying to avoid a jab into the wilting passengers on my left.

The headline reads:  ‘Hottest day of the year today!’

The tea lady runs out of tea. And water.

People feebly moan as we chug slowly to our final destination, five hours of mounting horror as each stop loads up new victims.

I delve into my memory to remove myself. I think of bulging buses full of chickens, and crumbling dirtroads. Each cinematic memory sustaining me. If they could survive equatorial heat, I can survive Britain’s big thrust at a heatwave in a broken old carriage.

By the time we reach the centre of the country, we are bound together physically and emotionally.

Unsticking myself from the seat, our eyes meet – his raised eyebrow says it all.

I smile conspiratorially, and escape.


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