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The Iberian Horseshoe — A Journey

Part I. North West

Slow Taxi to Vigo

Steve Porter
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapOporto, Ponte Dom Luis
Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.
Samuel Johnson

The Buddha I had bought in Oporto was by my bedside.

“Tonight,” I told him, “We will have company. Don’t be jealous. You know you always have what you need.”

The last rays of winter sun reflected off his newly polished forehead. Four bells on Vía Norte announced the hour and I went off to the school for the last time.

The children watched a video of the Lion King, then roared out into the corridor. Lisa had left for England that afternoon. I had agreed to cover a class for her. I felt very relaxed and wished I could do every class as if it was my last. The women in the group commented on how different my accent was from Lisa’s. I told them a little about Scotland and asked them about their families and jobs, and what they were doing for Christmas. And that was that. Simple really.

I headed off for the station with that familiar sense of anti-climax that finishing a job brings. I couldn’t wait to see Mary. I checked the board. The train from Oporto should have already arrived despite the recent strikes. Then I saw a leopard woman running towards me from the entrance door. It was Mary in a fake fur coat.

We went for ice cream. Sitting in the parlour we ate large sundaes smothered in cream and flake. She told me that she had taken a taxi from Oporto because she thought the trains might not be running and couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of delays and all that.

“How much did that cost?” I asked, rolling my eyes.

She bit her lip, looked embarrassed.

“Two or three hours in a taxi must have cost a fortune. Well, you’re here anyway. That’s the main thing,” I said, hugging her close.

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Copyright ©Steve Porter, 2004
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Date of publicationMay 2006
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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