Your ex has a weak case. Flimsy, my lawyer says, and gives a little snorty laugh into her coffee mug. The mug advertises her services as a ‘Law Diva‘ and she sets it down on a photograph of a baby, made into a mouse pad. The bubbles on the surface of the coffee pop softly, one by one.
I can’t lose my son, I say.
Don’t worry, she says.
Her mobile phone rings. She makes an apologetic noise and swings her desk chair around to face the window. I can see the top of her head, stiff with hair spray.
Well, she says, did you take her temp? She snorts again. No, I can’t come home now. I have three more clients.
Outside the window, a crane hauls something heavy upwards.
Let’s take the tube to the end of the line.
His eyes widen.
Where does it stop?
I don’t know. Let’s find out.
He stands in front of the colourful map, chin straining upwards, straight blonde hair falling back from his face, and chooses the line that goes furthest away.
It’s not to scale, I say. But green is his favorite color, so that’s the line we choose. I buy him a packet of crisps and a Mars Bar, because he asks.
Don’t you have to go to work?
I shake my head. He munches thoughtfully. I help him push through the turnstile.
When we get there, it’s what I expected. I think I may have been here before. We cross a car park and over a triangle of grass, dotted with broken-off saplings, each inside its own battered wire fence. On the other side there’s a brick wall. I lift him onto the top, holding him round his waist while he dangles his legs over the other side. He points at things: a church spire, a shop window, a bright red sports car.
This is the best day, he says, with a slow starting smile. Where do we go now?