The Undomestic Goddess - Page 133
“Is this to do with the gardener?” He sounds exasperated. “Because quite frankly—”
“No! It’s to do with me! I just …” I hesitate, searching for the words. “Guy … I don’t want to be someone who doesn’t look out the window.”
Guy’s face doesn’t register an iota of understanding. I didn’t expect it to.
“Good-bye.” I open the train door and step out, but Guy grabs me roughly.
“Samantha, for the last time, stop this crap! I know you. And you’re a lawyer.”
“You don’t know me, Guy!” My words burst out in a surge of sudden anger. I pull my arm out of his and slam the door shut, shaking all over. The next moment it opens again and Dominic and the cameraman pile out after me.
“And so!” Dominic is murmuring excitedly into his microphone. “In a shocking turn of events, Samantha Sweeting has rejected her glittering legal career!”
As the train pulls out of the station I can see Guy and the other partners on their feet staring out at me in consternation. I guess I’ve ruined all my chances of a comeback now.
The other passengers start melting away from the platform, leaving me all alone. All alone on Hitherton station with only a suitcase for company. I don’t even know where Hitherton is. The TV camera is still trained on me, and as people pass by they give me curious glances.
What am I going to do now?
“As she gazes down onto the railway tracks, Samantha finds herself at a low ebb.” Dominic’s voice is low and sympathetic.
“I don’t,” I mutter back.
“This morning she was devastated to lose the man she loved. Now … she has no career either.” He pauses, then adds in sepulchral tones, “Who knows what dark thoughts are going through her mind?”
What’s he trying to imply? That I’m going to throw myself under the next train? He’d love that, wouldn’t he? He’d probably win an Emmy.
“I’m fine.” I lift my chin and clutch my suitcase more tightly. “I’m going to be fine. I’ve … I’ve done the right thing.”
But as I look around the empty station I feel flurries of panic as I take in my situation properly. I have no idea when the next train will be. I have no idea where I want to go even.
“Do you have a plan, Samantha?” asks Dominic, thrusting his microphone at me. “A goal?”
Into my mind come Iris’s words that day we made the bread.
“Sometimes you don’t need a goal in life,” I reply, lifting my chin. “You don’t need to know the big picture. You just need to know what you’re going to do next.”
“And what are you going to do next?”
“I’m … I’m … working on it.” I turn and march away from the camera, toward the waiting room. As I near it, I see a guard coming out.
“Um, hello,” I say. “I’d like to know how to get to …” I trail off, uncertainly. Where am I going? “To … um …”
“To …” prompts the guard helpfully.
“To … Cornwall,” I hear myself saying.
“Cornwall?” He looks taken aback. “Whereabouts in Cornwall?”
“I don’t know.” I swallow. “Not exactly. But I need to get there as quickly as possible.”
There can’t be that many nurseries for sale in Cornwall. I’ll track down the right one. I’ll find him. Somehow.
“Well.” The guard’s brow creases. “I’ll have to consult the book.” He disappears into his room, then emerges, holding a piece of paper covered in pencil. “Six changes, I’m afraid, to Penzance. And it’ll be one hundred and twenty pounds fare. Train’ll be a while,” he adds as I hand over a wodge of cash. “Platform two.”
“Thanks.” I take my ticket, pick up my suitcase, and head over the footbridge.
I know this is a crazy plan. I don’t have an address. I don’t have any backup. Nathaniel may not even want to see me again.
But … I have to try.
It seems like hours before I hear the sound of the train in the distance. But it’s the wrong side. It’s another train for London. As it pulls in I can hear the slam of doors and people disgorging on the other side.
“London train!” the guard is shouting. “Train for London, platform one.”
That’s the train I should be on. If I was sane. If I hadn’t taken leave of my senses. My eyes move idly over the windows, at people in their seats, talking, asleep, reading, listening to iPods—