He walks up the old Bristol Road. The road keeps travelling up past houses with triangular porches that grow from the façades like eyebrows quizzically raised. A memory here of spectacles with gold frames belonging to the old headmaster with hair like a strand of kelp washed up by the tide on a sandy shore. He asked questions concerning the journey. Simple queries regarding times and routes that seemed, to the boy, now a man walking up the same road, as complicated as the mathematical problems chalked on the sea-green board in white chalk.
The classroom with the brown tiled walls where the windows were always high. The headmaster could have been describing the canals of Mars or pockets of black explosions puffing under immense telescopes held by mountainous hands with dazzling rings on every finger for all the boy knew. But he nodded, in what he hoped were the right places and said yes. The simple-complicated language that he later learned to master – to decipher the seemingly indecipherable words, cryptic as clues left by a cold lake where the yellow lines always became entangled in the wind-swaying reeds.