My father drove a taxi for 27 years. 27 years of secrets.
One night, he sat in his taxi in the main square of the town. I think it was a Sunday. A sleepy evening in a slow place.
Suddenly, a woman raced across the street and approached the car, knocking furiously on the passenger window. He was alarmed. She was agitated.
She was mid-40s and looked ordinary enough but he didn’t recognise her, which was unusual. He knew everyone. He reluctantly wound down the window.
“Will you do a run for me please?” she asked. “I’ll pay you well for it.” She named a bigger town, not far away. Six miles or so. My father started the engine, unlocking the door for her to get in. Before he could open it , she leaned in the window and held out a piece of paper.
“Will you take that to - ” and gave him an address, and a man’s name.
My father hesitated.
She was polite but distressed. Yes, yes, take this note please. Here’s money for your trouble. But make sure he gets it, won’t you?
On the drive, my father worried. What if it was bad news? Or a threat? What if the recipient got angry?
Fifteen minutes later, he pulled up at the small, terraced house in the heart of the big town. A slightly run-down street. He got out of the car and stepped up to the door.
Jesus, now what? Knocking again. No answer.
Cursing his involvement, my father moved to the window and peered in. A man peered back from the corner of the room.
Waved his hand. I didn’t order a taxi. Go away.
My father opened the note and pressed it to the glass. Pointed. This is for you, would you read it, for God’s sake.
The man came slowly to the window, warily. He stared at the paper for a few seconds, scanning. Ok. He raised his thumb. Ok.
My father got into the car and drove away.
I’m beside myself. Bloody hell I say - what was in the note?
“I never looked.”