Writing here yesterday, I wrote about something that I do to keep Hugo in my mind. Every day, however, I see and hear things that unwittingly remind me of Hugo. These unprompted reminders, sometimes of very indirect connection to my son, are often the most painful.
Today, I went to Lincoln for the first time in my life, for routine work purposes. Nothing unusual about such a visit. After I had finished I walked to the station to catch a train back to London. Again, nothing unusual about that. None of the trains were working due to “signal failure”. Again, nothing particularly unusual about that; this is afterall England and not Japan. After a period of inactivity, the train company laid on replacement coaches. Again, these things can happen. Today’s most telling reminder of Hugo was when I was embarking the rail replacement coach (it was a proper coach and not a bus) to make the connection at Newark North Gate in order to get back to London, it suddenly dawned on me that I had not been on a coach since the day I had left Japan after my abortive visit there at Christmas 2011 to see Hugo – I had to take a coach to and from the local airport to the city centre area – they use the American term “limousines” there to describe coaches. That reminded me of the visit and, of course, my son.
Little things, in themselves meaningless, such as this serve as a constant reminder of my missing son. Whenever I see a crane, I think of him as he spoke about them when he was seen by consular officials earlier this year. Whenever I ride an escalator I think of him as he would love going up and down them. Whenever I cross a pelican crossing I think of him as he would always enjoy reaching up (or trying to reach up) and pressing the button even when the light was green. Whenever I see an aircraft in the sky I think of him as he always loved pointing at them in fascination and quiet awe. Whenever I see a boy of his age, especially a western-Asian boy – and there are quite a few in London nowadays – I think of him and have to quickly look away and/or sadly walk away. These are just a few of the more common examples of the reminders that fill many moments of every day. Today also marks exactly 1 3/4 years since Hugo’s abduction.
Below is a photograph I took of Lincoln this afternoon, with the Cathedral visible in the background, so that Hugo can one day see for himself: