'Never late'

I've been a little quiet about my creative writing in the past 12 months or so. My progress on a novel has been staggered, for a variety of reasons, but in recent weeks I've been working on a short story for this year's Bridport Prize. This isn't it - I won't be allowed to publish my entry in any form or else be disqualified from the competition - but it's something.

'Never late'

The boy looks at CDs in a shop. An independent one, on the outskirts of the city.

At the same time, the boy’s mother is sobbing. She’s sat in a car on a motorway, just sobbing.

‘He’ll be alright, won’t he?’ she says to her husband, who is driving. ‘Maybe we should go back for him!’

He says: ‘Rachel.’ He looks into the wing mirror and changes gear.

‘Listen, he won’t be waiting there for long. You know his taxi, never late,’ he says.

‘We’ve had this time arranged for weeks now. It’s not our fault. It’s his dad’s.’

She tries to imagine the boy in the shop. He’s eleven, getting into music, so he’ll be happy in the shop, she thinks.

The husband turns the heating on and gets the wipers going. He puts his hand on her thigh, but doesn’t look at her, as the raindrops race each other down the windscreen.