I remember going to the Speedway as if it were yesterday.
I remember most things about the Newport Speedway. Medium sized oval track (I can’t tell you how big it is precisely, but it wasn’t very big or very small), dust covering it in thick layers, hundreds of screaming fans, Wasps in their yellow and black jerseys, motorbikes which growled and revved and were itching to get going- much like their drivers, hot dog and burgers stalls, and the stands. The stands were where we stayed the most; it was too noisy behind the barrier on the track edge- too noisy and too dusty.
I remember this one day in particular, I have no idea who was racing against the Wasps but I can remember getting lost and panicking, and nearly crying. I had been to the breezeblock toilets and now coming outside into the brilliant sunlight I walked slowly so I could look out for my dad, but couldn’t find him anywhere- our seats were empty and, thinking I hadn’t gone far enough, began to walk a little further across the very long and high stands.
I still couldn’t find him and now panic began to rise from the abyss of my stomach and a lump caught in my throat- this is every child’s nightmare, losing your parents and thinking they’ve gone without you. I stopped and looked around, craning my neck to try and spot my father, maybe coming back from the toilets himself or looking for me thinking I had got lost. The truth of the matter was, I couldn’t find him, so therefore he was the one that was lost.
Thinking he had gone to the toilets, I began to walk slowly back towards them, again craning my neck and holding back my tears which were stinging at my eyes and trying to force themselves down my cheeks. Still nothing, I stopped in a large empty space and began to cry silently to myself, telling myself that he had left me accidentally, but was coming back to get me and would be here soon.
Alas! I looked up and through my tears, saw a tall figure walking back clutching two polystyrene cups of hot, delicious tea. He saw me crying and came running over to reconcile my anxiety and asked the simplest question with the softest and kindest voice a child could ever know.
“Why are you crying? I’m right here”
I blinked a couple of times and looked up into his puzzled face. In the smallest voice, I answered “I lost you and thought you had left me and wasn’t coming back.”
Balancing the cups in one hand, he grabbed me gently and pulled me in for a hug. Kissing me on the top of the head he replied “Now why would you think that? I would never leave you, I love you too much”
By the end of the race it had got a little bit warmer and three cups of tea later, the pair of us were ready to head home. In the car I was just uncontrollable- repeating everything that happened in the race and asking the most annoying questions a child could pose “Did you see that? Did you, did you? Remember when…?” to which my dad simply replied (and which he still does to this day if we see something together) “Yes, Hannah, I did. I was there”.