Chapter Forty-Seven

A black and white image, faded and darkened around to corners to look aged, of a two axle open railway wagon with timber sides over a metal frame. The wagon is sign written with the initials T.L.R.S. and carries the number 219493. There are two railway lines and light coloured stone wall behind.

Adam

Though Adam had used antidepressants before he looked at the new packet with suspicion. Amanda had picked then up from the chemist and she had been told they were the same as prescribed but in a different packaging format. He could feel the anxiety rise, that tingly feeling in his finger tips as he turned the blister pack over and over. The glass of water was inviting him to drink, and take the tablets, but his breaths hastened and he could feel the kitchen changing, stretching and extending away from him. His hands, and the strip of tablets seemed to belong to someone else, someone far away. As he reached for the water it seemed like the glass was further then he would manage, but he could see a hand, his hand, shakily reaching out. Was it his hand? He wasn’t sure any more so he willed it away from the glass until it was out of sight. Another hand was still holding the tablets. Adam could see it in his peripheral vision, uncertain of its connection to him. The strip of tablets fell away out of sight and there was a slight crackly noise as they hit the floor. There was a floor? Adam couldn’t feel a floor beneath him. It was too far away for him to be able to reach it with his feet. No, he must be floating, somewhere, somewhere just behind his head, it seemed. Yes, he was floating just behind his head and… and he must be invisible or something because he could see the kitchen worktop right through the back of his head and through his eyes. It was very strange. He thought of those stories of ‘out of body’ experiences and wondered if he was dead. No he couldn’t be dead, he remembered getting up that morning and… and being dead wasn’t in his plans for the day. What was his plans? He looked hard at the worktop through his invisible head and tried to find the plans for the day. What was it he said he would do? He seemed to remember saying “I need to pay the insurance.”
Was that today? It must have been because Amanda had said “Good, and don’t forget to take your tablets.”
There was a glass of water. He reached out and picked up the glass and took a sip. It was warm. And as he looked down at the warm water he could see the strip of tables on the floor by his feet. He bent down to pick them up and pressed one of the little pills out of its blister and popped it in his mouth. The coating began to turn a little slimy so he washed it down with the warm water and went to the living room to put the radio on.

…and just a little Jeopardy’ by Bates Motel! What ever happened to them? I remember seeing them live in the 80’s…” The presenter spoke over the first few seconds of the track.

As Adam stared at the radio, quietly annoyed that radios deejays often spoke over the music, he could feel his foot tap, and then his leg jiggle. He closed his eyes and let the bouncy music sweep over him as his shoulders began to sway and his head bobbed in time to the music. I have this on cassette, he thought as he danced, I must find it.

“…And that was Bates Motel and Jeopardy, a short track. They don’t make them like that anymore! Radio Theraton bringing you the music you’ve never heard of!” The presenter laughed at his own quip.

Adam didn’t hear what was played next. He was already out of the room and rummaging in a box under the bed where he was sure he still had some of his old cassettes. He didn’t find them there and now there was old paperback books and a video tape on the floor with all the dust from the box lid. “I’ll tidy that up in a bit.” Adam stood next to the bed and scratched his head wondering where his box of cassettes would be. He returned to the living room where the radio was. Music would be kept where the music is played, yes, that would be sensible. He looked at the row of compact discs on the shelf, no cassettes there, so he took them off the shelf and placed then in a neat pile on the carpet. There was a second row of compact discs at the back of the shelf, but no cassettes. Maybe they were behind the books? So out came the books into another tidy pile, but no cassettes. It’s got to be somewhere he thought. “Where are you!” he said as he removed suspension files from the filing cabinet. No! Silly! Adam grumbled as he wracked his brain, “Where did I last play it? Where? Where?” He spun around looking at the room. “In the car! Yes, I played it in the car!” The moment of triumph was suddenly lost as he remembered that he was thinking of his old car, the one he had before he met Amanda, the one that was sent to the scrap yard after it failed its MOT test! “Nooooo!” Adam exclaimed and put his hands over his head as he crouched down in frustration.

Adam’s phone rang. It was Harriet.
“Oh hi Harriet.”
“No no, it’s ok.”
“Oh yes, I remember.”
“Another one?”
“Oh, that is creepy!”
“So no idea who she is then?”
“Well, at least the phone company was able to do that.”
“No, I can’t think either.”
“Well, it’s not like you’ve had a lot of girlfriends, or nearly girlfriends…”
“Hmmmm….”
“Anyway, do you remember that strange folky band I liked when we were teens? Bates Motel?”
“Yeah, I know, not my usual type of thing, but they were just fun.”
“No, yeah anyway, daft question and a long shot… What did I do with the cassette?”
“No, fair enough, it was a long shot anyway. I’ll have to keep looking.”
“Oh, it doesn’t matter really, just they played a track on the radio and I thought I would find the cassette.”
“Oh, don’t worry.”
“Yeah, see you soon.”

Adam sat on the floor holding his phone and looking around at the piles of stuff he had left out during his search. The radio played on, something he didn’t recognise, in a room that no longer looked like the tidy space Amanda was in earlier in the day. As he began to tidy up Adam picked up one of the compact discs. He looked at it and realised that all that searching for the Bates Motel cassette was in vain. “It’s a bloody cee dee not a cassette! What an idiot!” Adam got up and put the ‘Telling Lies’ album on to listen to completely forgetting about the piles of stuff that needed tidying up.

As Adam danced a jig around the living room floor, carefully avoiding the piles of books and compact discs the door opened and Amanda came in. She looked around at the mess and at her husband who was hopping and skipping around to the music oblivious. She sighed, not knowing what to do, but also relieved that Adam was up and about and at least doing something. She caught his eye, smiled and resigned herself to taking his and just dancing with him to ‘Dead Man’s Chair’.
Amanda laughed with Adam as they skipped about between the piles of books, awkwardly twirling and spinning hand in hand until they fell into an embrace, swaying and caressing each other. For the moment, nothing else mattered, Adam was smiling and relaxed, and though Amanda knew it wouldn’t last long, it was a start. As the music played on Amanda reached up and pulled Adam closer and kissed him. She loved this man, this funny, awkward, giant of a man, and all his foibles and failings. They slowly sank to the floor kicking the books out of the way, kissing and fumbling with clothes as the desire over took them.
At that moment Adam wanted nothing else but to give in to the passion, to his desperate love for Amanda. Caring nothing for the open curtains Amanda pulled Adam in close and they made love frantically and noisily on the carpet.

The music had ended leaving just the quiet hiss from the speakers. Covered by the throw pulled from the sofa, Amanda lay with her head on Adam chest listening to his breathing, aware of the tears running down his face. He was crying softly, but not from sadness. It was a start. They both knew the process of ups and downs related to depression and mediation, and the time it would take.


Daisy

“Hey Fran! I was beginning to wonder if you’d moved out already.” Daisy called out as Fran came back home from work. Daisy had been spending the last few evenings on her own at home as Fran seemed to be spending more time with Elías. That wasn’t a problem though as Daisy enjoyed her own company, doing research late into the evening to the background noise of the television, but it did feel like she was living alone already.

“Ha! No.” Fran threw off her rucksack and cycle helmet at the bottom of the stairs and stood in the kitchen doorway. “I have been back most nights, just late, and then out early. I was starting to wonder if it was worth it.”

“Wondering what’s worth it? Elías?” Daisy shot Fran a look of concern.

“Oh he’s worth it! God is he worth it!” Fran clung to the door frame as she went misty eyed and weak at the knees to emphasise the point. “No, I was thinking was it worth it coming back just for a shower and a few hours sleep before going back to work. It’s early days still so I’m not moving in with him or anything. Besides…
“Have you seen his place?”

“No, why would I have? I hardly know him.”

“Oh you should! Not only is it a three bed, it is an immaculate three bed! Makes even your level of cleanliness look shabby. But two of those bedrooms are full of bikes! I swear that man is obsessed with bikes and cleaning products! Not that that is a problem in itself, I mean I don’t feel neglected…”

“Really? I wouldn’t have guessed.” Daisy laughed.

Fran rolled her eyes and laughed “You know what I mean! Anyway, I’m going for a shower before my clothes go without me!” Fran ducked out of the doorway and then popped her head back in. “Daisy?”

“Yeah?”

“Have I thanked you for getting me the courier job yet?”

“If you mean like with wine and chocolates, then no. But I am a patient woman.” Daisy grinned. “And the ‘thanks’ meter is running. Now go have your shower, even I can smell you from here, and I am only just back and sweaty myself but I needed a brew before I went up stairs.”

As Fran ran up the stairs Daisy sat down with her cup of tea. She put her hand on her tummy and pressed down hard. Her cramps had been getting a little more annoying recently and her periods had been heavier then usual, not by much but noticeably. She remembered that her mother had experienced the same, progressively getting worse over time, and had eventually become anaemic before the doctor recommended a hysterectomy. She had been nervous about it but afterwards her health was much improved. At the time she was already a mother, to Daisy, but if Daisy was to end up becoming anaemic and needing a hysterectomy too, well, she currently didn’t have children. She pondered if she ever would have. Did she even want to? It wasn’t something that came to mind much when she was modelling but also now that she was older time would be a consideration too. Having children would also involve a man, either through relationship or arrangement. Daisy thought about Harriet, and wondered how Harriet felt about children, she had never mentioned children one way or the other. Maybe it was another thing to talk about when the time was right.
As Daisy sipped her tea, and tensed against the discomfort, she felt she should shower to be clean and then soak in the bath for a long time to ease the cramps. Hopefully there would be enough hot water left.

****

As Daisy looked through her research later that evening, she referred back to the document she had cut from the Theraton Historical Society website. She noted with interest that the old Theraton Light Rail Service that ran between the two main stations was quite extensive in the older parts of town. There was a small goods yard near Theraton Road station, an engine shed and workshop. She couldn’t quite work out the locations of them from the text but thought that the grainy black and white photos of them might hold clues as to their whereabouts. She sent the photos to her phone in the hope that she might be able to see some landmarks that she could reference against while she was out at work, she carried on reading looking for more clues.

...most of the rolling stock was made from parts brought in from foundries and assembled into wagons in the workshops. The two foot gauge resulted in many of the wagons being of unusual design, sometimes comically long on bogie wheels, other times overly wide and looking ungainly. They seemed to have been made to suit the range of goods most commonly transferred from station to station from the standard gauge private owners’ wagons. The motive power used were of the Wren class, manufactured by Kerr Stuart, and three were in operation for most of the railway’s life. Working in rotation, two would run a back and forth shuttle service while the third would be either in the workshop for servicing or shunting in the goods yard. All three would live in the engine shed that bore the name ‘The Wren Works’.
The Wrens were not the only locomotives used on the service. A couple of small petrol powered Lister R Type locomotives was also employed for shunting duties and lived in the wagon workshop not far from The Wren Works. Unfortunately the wagon workshop, and the goods yard has been mostly lost to the new ring road development though evidence of its location is preserved in the street name ‘Lister Drive’ where many of the railway workers lived in the small terraced houses alongside the goods yard…

“Hang on!” Daisy sat up with a start.

“What! Blimey Daisy, you made me jump! And I was just dozing off too.”

“Lister Drive! That’s my house, I mean that’s where my house is, the one I was looking at with Harriet!”

“What about it?”

“It’s an old rail worker’s house. It’s named after the… what was it?” Daisy referred back to her notes, “Lister R Type locomotive. They used them in the goods yard near where the house is. I wonder if there are any photos of the house in the historic records?”

“The whata whata what?” Fran was no more enlightened by Daisy’s explanation.

Daisy explained to Fran about the use of the old narrow gauge line, and the locomotive connection. “It’s a pity the old workshop is no longer there, but if I find an old map I might be able to see where it used to be before the ring road. I might even be able to see where the other engine shed was too. Anyway, I think I should buy that house for the history it has.”


(Chapter 46 here)

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