We went to York, the girl and I. She had been invited as another part of the uni entrance process. It's where she wants to go, if she gets the marks. We drove up listening to her ipod through the car stereo, talking back at the new sat nav, laughing.
At the university they split us up - prospective students one way, parents and guardians another. I watched her walk across the room, with every memory of leaving her somewhere for the first time superimposed onto the image of the adult her. Playgroup, parties for groups of 5 year olds, first day of school. That St John's Ambulance camping trip she came back from as a My Chemical Romance fan. The school trips to France and Germany. Her first night out. All that as she walked across the medium sized room. Then the moment of arrival and the reminder and realisation and relief that she is not me and that she is an adult now - instantly in a conversation, before I could seriously begin to fret. She is quiet, and she likes to spend time alone, but she is not me and she is an adult, walking towards her own life.
In the hours that we were at the university it snowed and it snowed, so that by the time we met up again the whole campus was whitewashed. It meant we saw it at what must be its most beautiful, hugely atmospheric, with the wind throwing dark shapes across the water, and silhouettes of geese over head.
It also meant a difficult journey back to where we were staying, and a power cut across half the city, and random fire alarms throughout the evening which left us shivering in the continuing blizzard while we waited for the all clear.
I needed to be at work, 200 miles away, early the next morning, so I woke the girl at 4am, worrying that the car would be snowed in and roads closed, but the rain had come, and there was hardly a trace of snow left. We drove back, listening to her choice of music again, stopping only to fill a carrier bag with chocolate and sugary drinks to propel us forwards. When we reached the town where I work I dropped the girl off at the station, and watched her walk away, through the crowd of commuting adults.
(Still problems with linking - the title is from Son by The National)