'Are We Nearly There?' by Jude Higgins

You’re off to the seaside because you don’t know what else to do since he left. Alice knows she shouldn’t ride in the boot with her beach ball but you won’t stop her. You’re glad she blew up the ball herself. You refuse to take over that role as well.

All three kids looked happy enough in the photograph your mother just took before you set off but it will be different when you get out of the city. These days, they’re quiet in the car – even Finn, who used to sing all the time.You’ll keep checking the mirror and see him sucking his thumb, hear the girls playing Angry Birds on their iPads.

You’ll drive on and on through the mountains, past fields of lambs, past that stream where you had the picnic last year. Back then, he helped Finn catch a minnow, and pointed out the red kite gliding on a thermal. You’ll see a hawk yourself, but you won’t know its name. When you switch the radio on to blur your thoughts, Amy Winehouse will be singing Rehab. It always makes you think of him.

Because the kids aren’t looking and asking, you’ll be the first to glimpse that line of darker blue on the horizon.You’ll wonder if you’re nearly there. If you’ll ever arrive at a new place.

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