The London Train (P.S.) by Tessa Hadley

By Tessa Hadley

Unsettled through the hot dying of his mom, Paul units out looking for Pia, his daughter from his first marriage, who has disappeared into the labyrinth of London. getting to know her pregnant and residing illegally in a run-down council flat with a couple of Polish siblings, Paul is entranced through Pia’s pleasure at residing at the facet. forsaking his moment spouse and their childrens in Wales, he joins her to start a brand new lifestyles within the middle of London. Cora, in the meantime, is operating within the wrong way, again to Cardiff, to the home she has inherited from her mom and dad. She is escaping her marriage, and the constrictions and disappointments of her lifestyles in London. yet there's a deeper this is why she can't stick with her first rate Civil provider husband—the aftershocks of which she hasn’t absolutely come to phrases with herself. Connecting either tales is the London teach, and an opportunity assembly that would have speedy and far-reaching effects for either Paul and Cora.

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Pia’s hair was clean, but her face was pale and not made up; she was wrapped in a shabby black cardigan with its belt dangling loose, which she kept in place, folding her arms over it. She looked years older than when he’d last seen her, when they went out to eat together and he was still thinking of her as a child. Although she might have been trying to cover herself up, he saw in his first glance that she was pregnant. Not hugely pregnant, but enough for it to show up against her angular thinness.

The coffee she made was instant; she rinsed dirty mugs under the tap, rubbing the dark rings out of them with her finger. He asked if she’d seen a doctor yet, and she said she had, and that she was going next week with Anna, Marek’s sister, to an appointment at the hospital. – You don’t mean for a termination? She was shocked. – No! It’s too late for that. Much too late! It wasn’t clear, she said, exactly how far the pregnancy was advanced; there was confusion apparently about her dates. – They’re waiting for the scan.

He told her about her grandmother when they were out of sight of her front door, alone on one of the landings in the well of concrete stairs, with its whiff of cheap disinfectant. When she realised what he was saying, her mouth stretched in helpless, ugly crying. He thought how different she was from his other daughters. They seemed to have from their mother a finished, worldly awareness, like a gloss of complexity on their every gesture, on every detail of their appearance. Pia had grown up in the city, but she was raw and artless, with her thick fair hair like straw and big-knuckled hands.

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