When people ask why she came north Clara always says on impulse, but whenever she is awake this time of night she unpicks all the little bits in her decision: retiring two years early, selling the house at the top of Streatham Common, always liking the way Wakefield tumbled down it’s rise into a mess of allotments and retail parks, how the spires and towers and backs appealed to her from the train when she came to see Special Branch in Leeds or visited the prison, seeing this little flat right in the centre of a small town near a big city, buying it the same day, the financial sense, the wanting to be somewhere else, leaving no one she cared about behind, a new life in a new square in the right place in the centre of England close to the rest of the world.
Clara gets up. Puts the light on. Pours a small whisky. Looks down into Burgage Square.
Thinking of Rilke, a line from The Windows, she feels its sense without being able to remember a single word, French or English.
The girl in the corner flat still isn’t home.