It was a “white van” sort of van, except it wasn’t white, it was silver coloured, and it was bigger than most white vans; “Renault Master”, said the name on the back door. It was driven by a grey haired man, perhaps in his mid-50s, a man content to drive at a speed at which a middle aged cleric was content to follow. Beside him, in the front of the van, sat a woman. Perhaps late-70s, her grey white hair showed signs of a perm that has grown out. On her lap was a handbag, which she held firmly with both hands, as she stared at the road ahead.
It was an odd scene, where was the van going? Why was a lady of senior years sat in the front? If the driver were her son, then why sit holding tightly to her handbag, as if on a bus or train? Perhaps the van had been going her way, and the driver, a friend or a neighbour had offered the lady a lift?
It had been a very brief moment, the glimpse of the driver and his passenger had only been possible because they had come from the right at a roundabout. Someone able to write short stories might have made something of it, might have woven a tale of adventure, or of mystery, or, at least, of interest. As it was, it had been just two people in a van that had continued straight ahead at the next roundabout, at which the cleric had turned left. The lady presumably held very firmly to that handbag until arriving at whatever place she was being taken and the driver presumably went about his day’s work, which presumably involved the contents of the white van that was silver. Perhaps it was the “Renault” name that lent the encounter a certain mystique, a French van somehow more exotic than the Ford and Opel varieties more frequently encountered.
But does it matter if no-one ever wrote a story about the van and the driver and his passenger? Does it matter if no-one wrote about any of us? Does it matter if we never appeared on any pages or on any screen? Isn’t our own story interesting, at least to us? Why fill social media with what we aren’t when it’s OK to be what we are? A character in a film that has slipped the memory declares that he might not have much of a life, but it is the only life he has and that it matters to him. The driver and his passenger matter, even if only to a few people, they matter, and when the world becomes not labels or even names, but people with lives and hopes and loves, then it looks different, and if the world looks different, it means that the person looking looks different.