Margaret doesn’t want George to come home, tail between legs. He knows that now. She wants him to find whatever it is he is looking for and come home so they can grow old together.
The Jubilee Line sways. George steels himself.
Onto the 486 and away from the dirty-white Dome, marooned at the tip of the peninsula like a half-buried alien craft; through Millennium Village, where dual carriageways divide bland housing estates serviced by vast retail parks. It is just after 9am and the streets are empty. No corner shops, no fruit stalls, no kids hurrying late to school, no leaning on horns. No hustle. It unnerves George, like he’s on a film set, victim of an elaborate hoax. Alien indeed. This is the last place Adam will be.
The more familiar, winding streets of Charlton follow. Victorian housing and Royal Artillery barracks. From the top deck, George can see into the courtyard as a group of 12 teenagers stand in two lines. They look a ragtag bunch in jeans and t-shirts and George thinks of his own father, whom he barely knew, standing in a similar courtyard, waiting for his mind to be torn apart.
Every day in March I’m writing 200-word sections of flash fiction of an ongoing story based on a man’s search for his lost son on London’s buses.