While Danny Longhurst’s mind was performing genealogical gymnastics, Dacre Lawrence’s wasn’t any calmer. If he’d been there longer than a few days, he might have realized that the Sunday afternoon routine at
His professional knowledge of how a stroke can affect someone led him to realize that it might be some considerable time before he recovered his missing faculty. He wasn’t even scheduled to see the consultant until Monday: he knew who it would be, and had never liked the man – and, he realized now, the feeling was most probably mutual.
What had his life been, he wondered, to come to this? Years wasted in the pursuit of money – for what? He had no family, nobody who truly cared, one way or another, what happened to him. His colleagues at the practice would doubtless be speculating about his return, and had maybe even already organized things on the assumption that he wouldn’t be back.
That was it, then. Staring at the closed door to his room, listening to the sound of nurses chattering as they passed along the corridor outside… what had he done, after all, to deserve this? He wrestled with the problem for some time. What he had learned, in such a spectacular fashion, was that he hadn’t honoured his parents. They’d brought him into the world. Had lavished their love and attention on him, had sacrificed much (he now realized) so that he could make his way in life and repay them by … turning his back on them.
His mind traveled back to the day he had so wantonly discarded all his father’s papers, without even a second thought. At the time, it had seemed the sensible thing to do – all those books, all that ephemera stacked in boxes: who needed it? Certainly not Dacre Lawrence! There was nothing about his father, the retired factory worker living in his tiny house in Thirsk, that had suggested he was anything other than a hoarder of worthless papers.
The galling thing was to know that it had been Cyril Galloway who had forced him to reflect anew – the same Cyril Galloway who, he sensed, was double crossing him in his time of need, who might have been the closest person he had to a ‘friend’, but who had – Lawrence suspected – taken advantage of him, even before the stroke.
Now, he wondered whether the letter to Laurel McFry had been enough. He hoped she heeded his warning, kept a watch for