Brian could hear these words ,spoken by the earnest judge at Bodmin crown court as the sentence of extinction was passed upon his uncle Bill.He couldn’t quite bring himself to utter the D word,so he spoke in these terms to somehow soften the blow ,the humiliation that the meditation of this information had on him.Brian couldn’t really process this in his mind,as if a cloak over his mind had numbed him to any sane conclusions.Brian just wished he had never allowed his selfishness to take over.He had hoped that the inheritance of the farm and the cottage might rejuvenate him from the life that he had descended into,that rut of non productive living,too much drink,and the inability to maintain positive relationships in his life.This farm was meant to allow for a fresh start,a new beginning if you like,but it just seemed more like another ramification that he couldn’t really cope with.
His train reached Bristol Templemeads and the train split from this point.As he had gotten into the wrong part of the trains he quickly gathered his things to move to the front not four carriages of the train.As he did,he noticed the girl had fallen asleep,so he gently tapped her on the shoulder ,alerting her of the change in status of the train from now on,Brain hoped that she wasn’t going to Cardiff as he rather liked the opportunity of playing the knight to the damsel,but he would be disappointed because she was heading towards Wales .He hoped that she had a good journey,smiled ,and moved towards the front.As he did,he seemed to get a little more perspective and direction as he now knew that the train would pick up speed towards didcot,and then towards Reading and finally,London Paddington.His thoughts began to be centred in seeing Jen,on picking her brains and in trying to find some sort of sense to this bizarre family stuff that he now had to deal with.
As a child,Brian always struggled with his education,and this wasn’t helped by having a sister who excelled academically.He loved Jen so much,but he always knew that his mum had always favoured her because of her sensibleness,and her achievements.He just couldn’t match her in any of the things that his mum valued.His one grace though had been with his ability to draw and paint ,a talent that he nurtured and that his sister sponsored ,keeping him afloat now for many years.He felt that one day when he started to sell his work that he might repay her for the faith she had invested in him.Jenny had always supported him even when no one else had,and he just admired her so much for the person that she was,While she was at medical school,she had worked as a waitress,and sometimes she would be dead on her feet,but she still kept going,He was in awe of her ,and he just knew that once he reached Barnet ,she would know exactly how to move forward,she always did,
As the train reached Reading,he thought what a dreary place it was,and wondered why anybody would ever live there:the place lacked any character or visible energy to him.He knew though,that the Lions share of the journey was done,and the train wouldn’t stop now u TIL it reached Paddington.His mind played tricks on him again,because the picture of the women who was bound for Cardiff came into his head again and he started to draw her features in his mind.As he did,his usual fluency alluded him and her beautiful profile merged into the form of uncle Bill with that pot marked complexion,bedraggled ,careworn,and forlorn.As he saw it in his mind,blood shaped from the mouth,and the burns extracted from the neck gave way to a scream as the neck then broke.It was a traumatic vision,a horrible sight,a macabre scene.
“Tea,coffee,sandwiches,and biscuits came the words from the buffet steward “.Brain woke up from his dream,his nightmare,but he didn’t remember falling asleep,he just seemed to have lost a chunk of his life ,the way you do when you fall asleep in the day and have a dream,But this was the worse dream that he had ever had,it seemed to merge the day from the events this morning at Aunt Lucy’s to the train journey and the meeting of the girl from Plymouth.As he composed himself,he purchased some coffee from the vendor,with a cardboard ham sandwich and some digestives .He was hungry.He might have bought some beer but he knew that Jenn would smell it in him and he didn’t want to upset her,Besides,he desperately needed all his faculties when he got to Barnet because Jenn would need something to eat as she would be late in from the hospital.Since bing made co sultans,she had continued in the same dedicated way that she had been since being a registrar.Jenny never took a back seat ,never took it easy,always dedicated to those terribly sick children in her care.Brian rarely met her at the hospital as he found it too depressing to see these children,to know that many would only ever have brief lives.It never dampened her spirit though,and Jenny maintained a hope that one day there would be breakthroughs in the treatment for childhood cancers.It was this positive attitude to everything that Brian lacked in his character and he wanted to feed off it.
The train sped past the leaving district of Royal Oak,and the provincial suburbs imprinting on Brian’s mind that ,at last,after nearly six hours,his journey was almost over.His train arrived on platform 4 and Brian made his way towards the underground to his onward destination.He looked at the clock and seeing that it was 7 o clock,rang Jenny at her office off her ward but there wasn’t an answer,so he rang her house as well allowing the phone to ring a number of times but she didn’t pick up.He assumed that she was travelling home in the tube herself.After about 35 minutes,he reached High Barnet station ,catching a taxi to Jenny.As the taxi pulled up outside,he paid the driver ,making his way to her house.Using his key to unlock,he shouted out in his usual way:”How’s my favourite sister”,an odd joke that he always made as Jenny was his only sister.As he did,he could see that there was a light on in the hallway and in the kitchen,Thinking that she had arrived home in between his calls,he rushed in :”Surprise”,only to be greeted by two young people fixing something to ate.He said sorry,and as he was about to put his things down,they smiled at him and said that his sister was still at the hospital with their mum and Dad and brother.Brain wasn’t surprised at this at all,because Jenny was totally hands on and great Ormond street didn’t have accommodation for parents and their siblings.Oftentimes,parents would sleep on a camp bed in the corridors.They had explained that their brother had been rushed there from another hospital earlier today .It seemed serious,but Brian didn’t want to pry.He offered to help them with something to eat and his knowledge of the goings on at Jenny’s house came in handy.
As they weren’t that hungry,and quite overwhelmed by their day and the worry of having a very sick brother,Brian fixed them an Omelette.Just doing these practical things made Brian feel useful as if he were co tribute game something,One of the girls looked at the artwork in the hallway and commented on how good it was.Brian smiled but didn’t boast that he was the painter,but enquired Wether the young person painted herself.This interest seemed to break the ice for them all,this touching in something normal gave the time a more even keel.Just then,the sounds of brakes from Jenny’s Ford Capri signalled to Brian that his big sister had come home.It was now way past nine and lesser folk would have just wanted to get to bed,but she greeted him with warmth and feeling with a hug that told him that somehow they might be able to make some sense of this mess that was in his mind.
Brian understood that a profound talk wouldn’t be possible tonight ,but just Jenny telling him that it would be alright ,just that calm voice,that inner emotional beauty that only she possessed made things settle in his head .He promised to stay there on a camp bed ,and she promised that they would take a walk tomorrow and talk together .
Brian ,exhausted from all the turmoil in his mind began to feel guilty that the people in Jenny’s house tonight were also in turmoil,profound worry about their family member ,but anxiety and pressures affects people at the same time .Sometimes we might feel that we are the only ones going through pressures,but that is rarely the case.
As Brian settled down to sleep in the old sleeping bag that his mum had had at the Islington home,he thought about her ,about Aunt Lucy and Jenny.All those holidays in Aunt Lucy’s farm .He could still smell the place on the sleeping bag .It was a powerful thing,the smell of a place,Jenny had kept the sleeping bag in case of emergencies for parents of sick children to use no doubt,As Brian settled down,his more relaxed state of mind seemed to create the tone for Brian to sleep,and sleep he did.
Tomorrow would be another day,another chance in many ways for him to try again.He knew that Jenny would be true to her word,and he had faith in Jenny and her promises.She had never let him ,but right now,she was the only one who hadn’t .