My fingers started to go white and numb as Liz gripped my hand tighter and tighter. Lewis was as professional as ever, pretending not to hear us argue yet again. He was driving us home via the East End. Liz was always the same when we passed through these streets. She just couldn’t let it go. There was always a reason to remind me.
She put a tissue up to her nose and screwed her face up, I suspect to make sure I understood loud and clear. Then she tapped Lewis on his shoulder, “Lewis please hurry through here. I can’t stand it.’’ She turned back to me, “Richard I’m so pleased you no longer belong here. Which reminds me…yesterday was so embarrassing! Could you not, just for one day, forget about the Daily Worker? I had to face the most awkward questions from Laura and James at dinner last night.” She tried to look hurt but even the tissue couldn’t hide her complete disapproval.
“I happen to like the Daily Worker,” I said defensively. “I used to buy it for my old man every day. Then Dave, Lenny and me would go to The George. Surely even you approve of that name Liz?”
“Oh stop it now Richard! And do not call me that awful name! It’s not proper. Neither is your insistence on introducing yourself to our friends as Dick. You must be Richard, darling. Remember that. Especially tonight in front of Father and his Parisian colleagues. The firm is looking for new contacts in Europe and this is a big opportunity. Especially for you. You’re very lucky Richard. I do wish you’d realise that”.
Her voice drifted to a place in my mind where I no longer heard it. As we passed The George I saw Dave and Lenny going in, each with a paper under their arm and Bill and Daisy, the Alsatians, trotting behind. The Troublesome Trio we were called. Dave, Dick and Lenny from number twenty-eight. Liz was right though. I didn’t belong here anymore. I wanted to rewind the clock but I couldn’t. I couldn’t be Dick any more. I couldn’t read my paper or drink in my pub or even travel to the site on foot every day. How lucky I was to be able to be driven everywhere, attend lavish parties, read the Telegraph and request a meeting with Mr Baldwin himself at the drop of a hat. Yes, how lucky I was indeed.