On the opposite wall was a Damien Hirst spot painting, bought by Arabella after a decent bonus season. Roger's considered view of the painting, looking at it from aesthetic, art-historical, interior-design, and psychological points of view, was that it had cost forty-seven thousand pounds, plus V.A.T.
In all memory there is a degree of fallenness; we are all exiles from our own pasts, just as, on looking up from a book, we discover anew our banishment from the bright worlds of imagination and fantasy. A cross-channel ferry, with its overfilled ashtrays and vomiting children, is as good a place as any to reflect on the angel who stands with a flaming sword in front of the gateway to all our yesterdays.
It gave her a sudden sense that it was now her turn to grow old, to find the world changing, sliding away from the old ways of being and behaving, so that you were gradually a stranger to the place you lived in. The woman priest with jogging clothes and a BlackBerry gave Mary a glimpse of what life must have been like for her mother as she grew older.
It seemed too as if many of the people were on display, behaving as if they expected to be looked at, as if they were on show: so many of them seemed to be wearing costumes, not just policemen and firemen and waiters and shop assistants, but people in their going-to-work costumes, their I'm-a-mother-pushing-a-pram costumes, babies and children in outfits that were like costumes; workers digging holes in their costume-bright orange vests; joggers in jogging costume; even the drinkers in the streets and parks, even the beggars, seemed to be wearing costumes, uniforms.