The waiting room was small, not much more than a large cubicle with a coffee machine, a couple of televisions, and maybe twenty other parents, all of us equally nervous and trying not to show it. A better artist than me might’ve been able to capture it with his brush, the anxiety like a physical object that each one of us carried. I had been there nearly an hour when Karen called. I walked toward one of the room’s corners, as much privacy as I could find, and whispered hello.
At Heathrow, three hours before her flight to Boston, Thandi was in one of the shower rooms below the Galleries lounge in Terminal 5. A previous tenant—someone who, at some point in the day, had been in there before her, before every inch of the shower room was cleaned, its towels and various amenities replaced—had left a trace of themselves; the radio on, the dial turned to Classic FM.
He used to play the violin, but then, as his fingers thickened and lost some of their agility, he became frustrated by trying to play, and then bored by it. He put the violin away in its case for good, had the case removed to a storeroom, and, instead, invited others in to play for him and his family in the evenings.