1. America

    I thought very deeply, over a number of years, about going to America.

    And so I got a good job in a factory which manufactured and distributed bird seed.  I worked in the factory’s office as a junior clerk.  I was paid £6.38 per hour, with time and a half at weekends. I got the job through a temping agency and I lied on the forms about my quaifications so that I could get an interview.  I also lied in the interview.  I said that I had a Phd in Ornithology. They gave me the job, after an eight-hour interview which involved my being pitted against four other sweating hopefuls.  Needless to say, the work was easy.  In the morning I would go to my desk, turn on the computer and begin to enter data.  I would continue in this fashion until 5:30pm, when I would save, close and switch off the machine.  I would then return home to eat and sleep before returning the following day. I repeated this activity for several months - until I had saved enough money to buy a plane ticket to America.  I bought my ticket from the travel agent who also advised me on my visa application. 

    My final day at the office was particularly morose.  Some of my colleagues threw a surprise party for me in the kitchen adjacent to the office where party poppers ejaculated their gaudy cobwebs into the steamy air and everyone wished me well.  It all smeared past in a blur.  The following morning I awoke, and stepped out of my flat, posting the key though the letterbox.  I heaved the suitcase over the drop-kerbs and into the pinkish dawn.

    Fuzzy mouthed at the airport I was suddenly gripped by a sluice of fear.  I couldn’t go to America after all.  It would be wrong.  I began to sweat, my new woolen scarf (I was going to Alaska - I feel the cold) constricted tighter and tighter around my neck.  The blond family in front of me cast sidelong glances.  The father said

    "Are you alright?" 

    I began to slide downwards, into and onto the floor.  I had forgotten about the aeroplane. I had forgotten about the flying.

     
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