It was a day trip out to some seaside place arranged by the Gospel church for kids whose parents were poor and having got on the coach you sat in a seat by the window and waved at your mother standing on the pavement along Rockingham Street and she waved back then this girl sat beside you who you didn’t know and she smiled and said all right if I sit here? sure you said and looked back out at your mother and waved again and she waved back and you thought who is this girl? and why is she sitting next to me? and she looked at out the window

and waved to her mother who started talking to your mother and they both waved back to you and the girl and you said do you want to sit by the window? and she said ok yes that’d be nice and so she got out and you got out then she got in and sat by the window and you sat down beside her and then the coach started up and drove off and you both waved at your mothers until they were out of sight and the girl turned and said I’m Rachel this is my first time to the seaside and you said you can walk around

with me if you want to and she said that’d be good I don’t know anyone else here and so she did all day walked around with you along the beach and on the sands making sandcastles and in the cafe where they took you all for a meal of fish and chips and she talked and talked and smiled and laughed and once she took hold of your hand and it seemed for a while that she was happy at least it seemed so by the width of her smile.

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