فصل 05

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فصل 05

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CHPATER FIVE

Leaving Tredonald

The day that Huw went back to work, his father started drinking again. It was a terrible day for both of them. Huw had to make himself get into the mine lift. It was very difficult for him to go down to the place where Gareth had died only a week before.

Half an hour after Huw had left the house, David Thomas walked into the Red Lion pub and stayed there all day. His own house was too quiet, and remembering was too painful. Drinking took away all the hurt. So, in the Red Lion, he drank and forgot.

Over the next few weeks, there were days when father and son never met. But one day, Huw got a call from the police station. David Thomas had started a fight in a pub. The police were called and Mr Thomas was taken to the police station.

‘He broke some tables and chairs in there, you know,’ said the policeman to Huw. ‘He’s a strong man, your Dad - and even stronger when he’s had a bit to drink.’

‘I know,’ said Huw. ‘What happens now?’

‘Well, you’re lucky,’ replied the policeman. ‘Old Brian Morgan, the pub manager, said he won’t take the matter any further. And we won’t either… this time. But it must never happen again.’

‘We can’t go on like this,’ said Huw to his father, as they walked back home.

‘I know, son, I know. I promise I’ll stop. It won’t happen again, you’ll see.’

But David Thomas’s promises didn’t last very long. Soon he started drinking again. The people in the village had understood at first: ‘Poor David, he’s had a lot of sadness in his life.’ Now it had all changed. Even his friends were no longer so patient with him.

Huw’s time with Megan was the only time he felt really happy. Their love for each other was strong. They talked about their present and their future. They talked about Gareth, which was good for Huw. His father often got angry when Gareth’s name was spoken at home, but Huw needed to remember his brother.

‘You know, Megan,’ said Huw very quietly, as they sat on top of the hill. ‘My father has got to get away from here. I think it’s his only chance of getting his life together. If he stays here, the drink will kill him - one way or another. And I don’t think I can let that happen.’

‘What are you saying, Huw?’ said Megan. She could see from his face that it was difficult for him to speak. And there was a bad feeling growing inside her.

Huw looked at her and continued. ‘We had a letter, when Gareth died, from Uncle Edward in Canada. He’s Dad’s brother. He went to Toronto when I was about four. Anyway, he’s asked us to go and live with him. He says he’ll send the money for the boat.’

And do you want to go?’ Megan asked.

‘Oh Megan, how can you ask that? You know I don’t ever want to leave you,’ answered Huw. ‘But if… ‘

‘Can’t your Dad go on his own?’ Megan’s voice was very quiet.

‘Don’t you see? I’m part of the problem,’ said Huw, holding Megan’s face in his hands. ‘He won’t go and leave me working in the mine. I see him looking at me and remembering what happened to Gareth. He hates the mine and everything in Tredonald.’

‘And what about us, Huw?’ There was sadness in Megan’s voice.

‘You are the most beautiful thing in my life, Megan,’ said Huw. ‘I won’t lose you. But I have to go with him.’ Huw pulled her into his arms and for a few minutes they held each other.

‘Do you think you can wait for me?’ asked Huw.

‘I don’t know. What do you mean? Wait until you come back, wait for how long?’ Megan began to cry, Huw held her closer.

‘Uncle Edward says there’s lots of well-paid work in Toronto. It’s a big city, not like here. I might even be able to do something with my art. I know I’ll be able to earn money quickly, and I won’t spend much.’ Huw was talking fast now. And then, say, in a year I’ll be able to pay for you to come out and join me or… or I’ll come back here and we’ll get married and both of us can go back to Canada.’

‘You seem to have everything planned,’ said Megan in surprise.

‘No, I haven’t, but do you think it’s possible?’

‘Yes… oh I don’t know…’ said Megan.

‘Shall I talk to your parents about our plans?’ asked Huw.

‘No, not now,’ answered Megan. ‘I’ll talk to them. I’ll have lots of time to choose the right moment.’

‘And another thing. If I can earn some good money in Toronto, your father may realise that I’m different - not just a village coal miner, but someone with a future, someone good enough for his darling daughter.’ Huw knew Mr Jenkins would be happy to see him go to Canada.

‘Oh, Huw,’ said Megan. She couldn’t believe how this evening’s conversation had completely changed her world.


So on April 28th 1946, David Thomas and his only son, Huw, left the village of Tredonald for a new life in Canada.

For Huw and Megan, saying goodbye was the hardest thing they’d ever had to do. They met in their usual place by the river.

‘I’ll think about you every day,’ Huw said, holding her close and never wanting to let go. And I’ll write the minute I get there.’

Megan was crying onto his shoulder. ‘I know you think I’m a strong person, but when you’re in a new country, everything will be different for you. You’ll meet a lot of new people. I’ll be here doing all the same things. Do you think we’ll feel the same about each other in a year’s time?’

Huw pulled back and looked deep into her eyes, ‘I will, Megan,’ he said. ‘I know I’ll never change.’

They kissed one last time and then she watched as he disappeared. The minute he was gone, Megan felt that a part of her had died.

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