Edinburgh? You want to go
get a train to Edinburgh?
Lydia's dad says. Not now,
when I'm older, Lydia says,
looking at her father's steely
eyes, sober, smile lingering.
On your own? He asks, gazing
at her, taking in her skinny
frame, arms, legs and long
straight hair. No, with Benny,
she says, we went to Kings
Cross Station saw the train
that goes to Edinburgh station.
Whose idea was that? He asks,
Benny boy's? No we both had
the idea, she says, wishing
Benny was there as he would
know what to say. Long way
to Edinburgh, her father says,
picking up his cup of tea at the
breakfast table. 6 hours the porter
man said when Benny asked him,
Lydia says. Her father sips his tea.
Lydia waits. So can I go? She asks
her dad. He looks at her. When
you're older maybe. Well, got to
go to work, he says, gets up, pats
her head, says see you, Lydia.
Lydia watches him go, hears the
door shut. Her mother comes in
with a cigarette hanging from her
lips, her hair in rollers. What you
doing? She asks Lydia. Going to
Edinburgh with Benny, Lydia says.
Her mother stares at her and shakes
her head. Well make sure you pack
your clothes and empty your piggy-
bank, her mother says and walks off
back to the kitchen. Lydia frowns,
gets her piggy-bank and shakes it.
It sounds empty, except for a few
coins rattling. Can I go out with
Benny? She calls out to her mother.
She puts down her pink piggy-bank.
She walks into the kitchen where her
mother is washing up. Can I? She asks
her mother. Can you what? Go out
with Benny? Again? You only saw
him yesterday? Her mother says through
a mouthful of cigarette smoke. Need
to see him about Edinburgh, Lydia says.
What about Edinburgh? Her mother
says her words clouded in smoke. Dad
said I can go to Edinburgh with Benny,
Lydia says anxiously. Did he now, well
he can **** well pay for it can't he, her
mother says, well off you go then, and
don't be too late, need you to help me
sort out the washing later, I don't suppose
your big **** of a sister will shift her
backside out of bed before noon. Lydia
bites her lip. Watches her mother doing
the dishes. Ok won't be late, Lydia says,
walking out of the kitchen, along the hall,
out of the front door, stares out at the Square,
wondering if Benny is about out there.
A GIRL AND HER PARENTS AND A TRAIN RIDE TO EDINBURGH IN 1958.