It could be just coincidence. I’m sure it is, but they do keep on coming.
I guess there would be strange things happening around a book that takes its title from the biggest, most horrible coincidence of them all – that I was told nothing ever happened in Wentbridge and then someone I loved so very much died there. And then there was his voice in the car telling me my baby would be fine, four years after his death; his vivid message to me in a dream the night before my mum died; Tony Hodge meeting him on his landing at home and shouting at him because he was so angry he’d put us all through such grief; and Mandy nodding off at the wheel of her car after our reunion and hearing Mark’s voice, clear as day, saying “Mandy, wake up!”.
The day I was interviewed on Radio Leeds about the book, immediately before my microphone was turned on, there was a traffic news report of delays because of an accident and fatality on the A1 at Wentbridge. When an article about the book appeared in the Pontefract and Castleford Express, the adjacent story was about a young man who’d died when his car crashed on the A1 at Wentbridge. And the other day, someone in the audience for my talk about writing from personal experience at Portobello Book Festival came to see me afterwards to say she hadn’t known before the event that I was from Cottingham. She was too, and as we talked, it became clear she and her husband were friends with Mark’s older brother, and had been since her own brother had died a year after Mark in 1987. Our mothers were both brought up on Newland Avenue, and went to the same school, albeit a year apart.
Things keep on happening around ‘Wentbridge’. It’s a small world, or is it just a lot bigger than we know…?