Thursday, 11 November 2010

Her Van and Mine

I've taken the most precious of my books with me to London. One is my friend Emily Mackie's And This is True. I picked it up this evening and opened it again.
And I read the bit that describes the van that Nevis and his father lived in. In detail. And I thought of my own van. The third-hand van my dysfunctional family and I drove around in when my parents were still together.
A white Mitsubishi. The interior beige. Different shades of beige. The front had three seats covered in broken and cracked pleather, all a pale beige. The oil was underneath the driver's seat. The radio had dials. We always had it set to Atlantic Long-Wave 252 to listen to the same limited playlist over and over - the most memorable song Sunshine After The Rain. The back had two MDF benches which faced each other. There was enough space for three people on each bench. There were three dark-beige dirty cushions on each. If you lifted them there was a thumb-sized hole you could lift the top of the bench with, to access the storage space beneath.
In the boot was a large rectangle of the same MDF the benches were made of. It had two further bits of MDF which meant you could make the rectangle into a table, elevated in between the benches, or lie it flat to create a double bed.
The windows in the front wound down by means of a rotating beige handle. The back windows had thumb holes in, as the benches did, so you could slide them open.
The van broke down all the time and cost loads to run - but it was lying on the cushions in the back looking up at the double-lights permeating the black night above the motorway in the summer, with the breeze on my face as the others slept, which forms my earliest memory of a journey and is the reason I keep moving. I loved it.