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Extracts from
The Butterfly's Wing

Andy McIllray and Tom Dayton are a well-matched couple in their thirties, happy after four years together. Andy has a high-flying job with an international organisation while Tom has given up unrewarding work in catering to look after the smallholding they have bought in Berkshire. Disaster strikes when Andy's work takes him to Peru, where he is kidnapped by the Shining Path guerrilla movement. Tom not only has to deal with Andy's absence but with the intrusion of the tabloid press, which has far-reaching consequences.

An ambitious novel cast in the form of two diaries which record the torment both men are thrown into and which forces them each to face hidden truths about themselves and their relationship
Angel  by Martin Foreman

ISBN 978-0854-49-223-7
soft cover, 251pp
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Tom: I've been thinking about you and when we met. After that first time. You'd called a couple of times and I wasn't in. I'd meant to phone back but kept putting it off. Then one evening you rang while I was in and we talked for half an hour. Mostly you asking questions. Where I worked, what pubs I went to, did I go to the cinema. I thought you were a nosy bugger, but I didn't mind. I didn't want you to hang up. You had this quiet, calm voice and you really wanted to talk to me. You told me afterwards you had to keep asking questions because otherwise I wouldn't say anything. I did ask you what you did for a living, but it didn't mean anything to me. Project Development for World Aid, you said. I'd never heard of it. When you said it was a charity, I thought it meant you sent out medicines and sacks of rice and flour, but you said it was more like organising teachers and community workers.

There was a kind of pause and I thought you'd decided you didn't want to meet me after all. Then you asked if you could meet me at the cafe the next Saturday afternoon, at the end of my shift. I didn't realise how nervous I was that day until I looked at the time and saw you'd be there in quarter of an hour. It had been one of these days when time flies past and I hadn't had time to think about you. I squeezed into the toilet and sniffed under my arms and tried to wipe away the sweat with toilet paper. I'd brought a spare t-shirt to put on and I was in the middle of changing when Mark knocked on the door and said a handsome stranger was asking for me.

You stood there on the other side of the counter in a check shirt and old leather jacket. Had no-one told you the clone look had been out of date for years? To tell the truth, I was a bit disappointed. You looked better than you had in the pub, but not as good as I'd imagined on the phone. You had this cold expression, stand-offish. I think like me you were shy. We both kind of smiled stiffly and I said goodbye to the others and we stood in the middle of Soho wondering where to go.
Andy: That first trip remains in greater clarity than many of those which followed. From Cuzco to Bolivia - a colder land and a quieter people. From Bolivia to Brazil. I took buses from town to town in Mato Grosso, looking for the exotic and finding only dusty streets of bare one-roomed bars and overstocked shops selling groceries, agricultural implements and fashionless clothes. In Diamantino I met an Englishman in his late twenties in a half-empty restaurant. He had spent the previous night in a convent, having knocked on its door in the darkness thinking it might be a hotel. The sisters ran a girls' school but had no-one to teach English. There was a job for someone there; he, meanwhile, was heading for brighter lights and bigger opportunities.

I had been looking for an excuse to neither go home nor travel on. I had not found Conrad country but I was in Greene land - a solitary Brit in a hot muggy town in the middle of a jungle, hundreds of miles from home. I wanted to see if I could survive in a community where I knew no-one, where I scarcely spoke the language, where the days were featureless and the heat never-ending. This was life beckoning me from the other side, offering to reveal its secrets and my own weaknesses and strengths. I could not refuse. With directions from my compatriot, I headed for the outskirts of town.

I was young enough not to realise what I was letting myself in for, and young enough that if I had known I would not have cared. I walked into the courtyard in shorts and a crumpled shirt open almost to the waist, a battered rucksack on my shoulders. My Portuguese was rudimentary and heavily influenced by Spanish; it took time for the two young nuns I met to understand why I wanted to see the Mother Superior. I was finally shown into a cool dark room lined with dusty books and old icons, where I waited for quarter of an hour, doubting the wisdom of my decision. A short elderly woman entered and addressed me in a French whose accent I found difficult to follow. Slowly, we managed to communicate. I had heard she might need an English teacher; perhaps I could take the job.

She looked at me warily, asked questions and listened sceptically to my answers. My qualifications were poor, she pointed out. Speaking a language was not the same as teaching it; grammar had to be explained and curricula followed. The pupils came from deprived backgrounds; some were deficient in their native tongue. Nor was she sure about a young man teaching adolescent girls. If she was to take me on, the timetable would have to be changed, which she did not want to do if I were to leave after a week. I only half-heard these objections. The longer I sat in that old-fashioned office, aware of the heat, the dust, distant voices, the more I wanted to stay. There would be no salary, the Mother Superior added, her final defence, only room and board, although I might earn money by giving tuition in town. Fine, I said, determined to stay, and she nodded her reluctant agreement.


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