photo 2

Tomorrow I go to Edinburgh, to start the job that a year ago would have seemed unimaginable. I worried only about surviving, breathing and swallowing, walking without collapsing. Tomorrow I go to Edinburgh; the place I went from child to woman, the place I found my greatest happiness and my greatest sadness, the place where almost exactly two years ago we said goodbye. Tomorrow I go to Edinburgh, the place I sat and wept and wondered how the world would, could, be without you there to discuss it with, argue over it with, love it with, laugh about it with. I think of those times so often now as Gaza once again erupts – a place you knew so well, a conflict we discussed so often.

Tomorrow I go to Waverley Station, where we met so often after I left home for the city. You sweeping off a train with stories of your latest adventures. Me shy and awkward and desperate for your company. You heard me, saw me, when others didn’t. I could never hide from you. You saw my dreams. You let me grow into myself. You told me once of catching me pretend I could see when in fact my eyesight was so poor that I could barely see across a table,and no-one had noticed. How it made you sad that I didn’t know how to ask for help. And you told me once of “Catriona’s Bells” – the bells of the church near your house in Yorkshire. In the garden one day I had suddenly mentioned how beautiful the church bells were. You and my aunt had wondered what I was talking about. I said can’t you hear them, it’s like they’re singing. And later, driving through the country, you and she had passed your local church and heard the most amazing singing bells, and realised I had heard bells after all. And every time you passed the church you would laugh with each other about Catriona’s bells. I was blind and you cared I could not see. I was not deaf, and you loved how much I could hear. But I can’t see you now, hear you now.

photo 2Tomorrow I go to Waverley Station, where two years ago I spent trip after trip changing trains on the way to you, in hospital in Yorkshire. Backwards and forwards carrying my love and my fear and my pain through happy crowds of tourists and festival goers. And tomorrow I go to Waverley Station where I went home with the taste of our last kiss on my lips. It didn’t end there though, Waverley. Then there were trips to your home to sort out your estate. Your belongings and house to be sold to raise money for the Motor Neurone Society, in honour of June. The last journey home after all was done I carried a small attache case, the case your mother had given you for your first job at the BBC. In it some memento, memento mori – a pen, passports (so many – you travelled so far), letters and cards, old scripts from your Thames TV days, letterhead from hotels in exotic and in some cases (such as Persia) lost places. I treasured them those early days but I couldn’t get rid of the smell of you from it. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it was so painful. I tried everything but it clung. Today, swept up in memories of you, I opened the case and the smell overwhelmed me. Two years and all my efforts and it’s still there. I can’t see you any more, and I can’t hear you any more. But I can smell you, and dream you, and long for you. So tomorrow, in Edinburgh, in amidst the excitement of a new job, and a new phase of life, my mind’s eye will look for you, my mind’s ear listen for you. Tomorrow I go to Edinburgh and meet my past and my future in Waverley Station.