Tuesday, 15 September 2009

My Pride and Joy

It’s the crack of morning, barely gone ten, when the intercom buzzer sounds. I walk the four yards from my bedroom to answer it, but whoever it was has gone. I forget about it until later that day when I find a card from the Post Office on my doormat. “Sorry you weren’t in!” it says cheerily. It should of course read, “We couldn’t be arsed to wait five seconds for you to answer your door and so we have taken your package away again. Just to annoy you.”

I wander down to the sorting office. It has scribbled notes pinned to the wall, warning customers that threatening behaviour to staff will not be tolerated. After I have been waiting for half an hour, and begun to wonder if the sorting office had considered why customers got so aggrieved that they felt the need to make threats, I reach the front of the queue.

I slide my ID across the counter and, without undue haste, am handed a thick, brown envelope. I recognise the handwriting as my publisher, Trevor's and realise what the envelope contains.

I rush home to open it: the manuscript proof of The Mango Orchard, all 273 pages of it. I feel like a father, handed his newly born child for the first time. I flick through the pages, checking its fingers and toes are all there. They are. It’s beautiful.