You are still unsettled as you return to work the next day. Fridays are much like other days and you dread another ten hours of monotonous figures. More than anything, though, you are dreading lunch. The food is as terrible as any other day. You know the decision you made in the early hours and the person you would see at lunch today. You also knew this was starting a train of events in progress which could only end in disaster.
By 12:30 your stomach is a knot and you feel sick - in fact the tasteless broth they serve as food is the last thing you can face, but you know you have to go. You make a bit of a mess dropping some trays and cutlery which gives you just the right reason for losing a couple of places in the queue to manoeuvre yourself next to the girl you have been aware of for a while. There is something about her height and her colouring (as well, you realise at this moment, her age) but especially in the clumsy way that she tries to pronounce some of the more guttural Russian words that makes you know in your heart that she is English too - or at least you hope so, and in your half-awake reasoning of eight hours earlier this made it important for you to talk to her.
But talking at lunch so as not to be heard was never going to be possible, but you manage to slip her the piece of paper with a time and place written on it in as good English as you could remember yourself.
That evening she is there at the tube station and on the way home amidst the noise and crush of the carriage you are able to talk. For once you are relieved to have a delay in the darkness caused by another power outage, but her memories frighten you even more than your own. Yes, she is English and, like you, brought over soon after the invasion. Being of a similar age she too has very few memories of England back then, but she remembers something that you had buried even deeper than warm summer holidays.
She had on one or two occasions visited the museums in the city that had been established in some of the old Churches in order to demonstrate the corruption of the Clergy and the horrors of the ignorance of the religious. You had heard stories of Christians meeting and being beaten up or imprisoned and you always wondered what had happened to that really nice man you used to exchange smile with, but surely those types of stories were just meant to be a bit of a threat - that didn’t happen surely. She had been trying to find other Christians to meet and to pray with. Oh God, this is not good. Hang on, was that a prayer?
You recall as a child kneeling in Church, eyes almost closed and hands together and the sun shining in at an angle through the stained glass, but this is more than a memory of something you’d seen. Along with it was that warmth in your heart that you haven’t felt for forty years, a sense of being loved and a softness to life that was so generous.
You return home your head spinning and your mouth dry. That night you kneel by the side of your bed, eyes almost closed and hands together. What if the room is bugged or there are cameras? That’s too late now.
God of my memories, God of the sunshine, God of warmth and the sea. Where did my childhood go? Where have you been? How can I find you, so far from home. Oh God, this is not good...