I used to climb to the water tank at the top of the back of the house to read, often after I had done -or was deemed by my father to have done, something that required punishment and a lot of shouting and shaking of fists up in the air and quite a few threats of what would happen to me when he finally got hold of me, hi useless wayward son. In the meantime, I would be roaming the baked Spanish plains ofthe renaissance with Quixote or Gil Blas, or the narrow smelly streets of Elizabethan London, sweating profusely in the tropical heat, wondering how I would avoid the hour of reckoning that awaited me when I finally got down from my makeshift urban crag. Often enough I did manage to avoid the threatened punishment, as my dad would have gone to sleep if he was drunk or off to the bar if he was not. Poor man, I lived in terror of him and now I feel so, so sorry for him, so much more trapped in his circumstance than I was, whatever I may have thought at the time -but he future was still open to me whereas for him it was already set in a path of which he could not stray.
I did believe the threats, though, reinforced as they were by cursing and fists through doors. That space on top of the back roof by the water tank was my shelter, the place where I could hide with books and escape to other worlds, live other lives, dream of times, which seemed so impossible, when we all would not be trapped in the prison of our circumstance and of the history that had brought us here. Did it appen? Maybe it has happened for them, for my parents, both now dead and therefore outside of time, of history and of being. To an extent it has happened to me, living now such a different life, so far away in so many senses from the small world that brought me about. And he, we are in good measure what we have been, we are the society that brought us here..