I’m tired. They said this would only be for a night or two, then we could go home. Home to water-logged carpets and rotting furniture perhaps, but home nevertheless.
Yet weeks later, here we still are and I’m tired. I want peace and quiet, my own things.
First, they said just a couple more nights, then a week to ten days. Then a month, maybe two andnow they’re saying we may never go home. It’s the ice caps; they’ve melted. It’s the sea level; it’s risen. And it won’t go back down.
The young couple next to me wanted to know if this meant they still had to pay their mortgage; was it covered by the insurance? Otherwise, how would they buy another house? Then someone asked them, where would they buy another house, now that the houses they might have bought are underwater and far less desirable residencies than they once were.
Well, that provoked a discussion. Some of them were all for moving north, far away from the water and where property prices were cheaper than here anyway. Until someone pointed out the same thing was probably happening there; or soon would be. Someone had an aunt in Derby – can’t get much more inland than that – her two bedroom terrace must be worth a fortune now.
Then someone had the idea of just starting again, somewhere new. Like they did with Milton Keynes, but without the fake cows in the fields. That got them started, talking about the houses they were going to build, the parks they were going to landscape, the businesses they were going to run.
They’d all be local dignitaries, they’d all be entrepreneurs. Anyone could be anything, it seemed, if they just had the chance to cast off their histories and start afresh in a new place. Next thing, they’ll be naming it Utopia.
Then they turned to me. “What about you, Lorna?” they said. “Who will you be in our brave new world? Butcher, baker, candlestick maker?”
But I’m old. I’ve already made my place in the world. I’ve lived my life, my memories are on the sunken streets they’re so ready to leave behind. I’ve done my part, I’ve lived and lost and started again. I’ve seen the world change and I’ve changed to fit it. I don’t want to change again. I don’t want new leaders, new orders, new streets and neighbours. I don’t want to wonder how long this will last for. I just want what’s familiar, the twilight I’ve earned.
Originally from the East Midlands and now living in South Wales, Jennifer Holdich has extensive experience writing both prose and scripts. She loves an unreliable narrator, almost anything historical, and a good ghost story.