Sunday 16 December 2018

Snow by Ian Inglis

Whenever the snow fell, he remembered a time from his childhood.  Alastair Beech was fourteen years old when his parents decided to move from their three-bedroomed, terraced house near the town centre to a four-bedroomed, double-fronted, detached house in a new housing development on the site of an old convent just half a mile away. For Alastair, it was an uncontentious move. He welcomed the fact that the new house had a large garden, that his bedroom was twice the size of the one he was leaving, and although the journeys to and from school might take an extra few minutes he was relieved that he would be able to walk or cycle there with the same group of friends.

      Within days of their house appearing on the market, his parents received an offer several thousand pounds above the price they had been told to expect. The prospective buyer was a young woman who was keen to complete the purchase as soon as possible. Following the advice of their estate agent, they immediately accepted her bid and looked around for somewhere to rent for several weeks until their new house was completed.  They quickly found a furnished bungalow in a village two miles outside the town, placed their own furniture in storage, and moved in to their temporary home at the end of January. 

      For the next few weeks, Alastair was dropped off at school by his father on his drive to work, but on those days when their timings did not coincide he used the recently constructed Metro system which ran along the lines of the old suburban rail network and connected several of the small towns in the region. By and large he preferred this option. The journey was quick, the service was regular and reliable, and the large numbers of university students who used the system to travel between their outlying halls of residence and the town’s central campus gave him the opportunity to eavesdrop on what he fondly imagined to be exciting and bohemian conversations. In addition, one of the stations on the route was close to St Dominic’s School for Girls, and the crowded carriages provided opportunities for fleeting and unfamiliar physical contact with the opposite sex.

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