Somewhere better

I wrote this after a long coach journey.  I watched some of the lorry drivers on the motorway and wondered about their lives – what they get from all that travelling and what they might lose.  So, here’s Dave.

Somewhere better

Dave has his CB in his left hand and the wheel in his right.  There will be lasagne in Sheffield – and not from the microwave.  Josie, sunshine woman, will take it, all golden, from the oven. And Jayden will want to show him some funny cat on YouTube.  He’ll kiss his boy goodbye in the darkness.

Then there’ll be a load to Harwich.  Bitter coffee at the port in weak, grey light. Sea spray sticky on his lips.  And then, in Rotterdam, Marieke and the apartment beyond the ring road. The radio on and her strong arms soaping his back.  Leaving her with peonies and sixty Euros for the gas bill.

Coming through Belgium he’ll hit the low point.  He’ll drink wheat beer he doesn’t like and pick up hitchhikers he doesn’t want to fuck.  And pine for clean sheets and football scores on the telly, like childhood.

Betting shops in Calais will rip his pockets with their high-stake machines.  Young men will run at his truck like it’s a chariot heading back to heaven or Mount Olympus – somewhere better.

And on, Dave, to Dover.  In the house in Rugby Road, Karen will have finished decorating the lounge.  Sophie and Lauren will be on their tablets, in their onesies.  Dave will make them all drinks – three teas and a hot chocolate for Lauren.

‘Ta, Dad.’

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