Ben, who had grown up in foster care without any idea who his real parents were, or even if they were still alive, woke up early and had toast for breakfast. He had got dressed and was just about to leave for his job in the registry office, where he helped to bring order and certainty to other people’s births, marriages and deaths, thus fulfilling an unacknowledged psychological need on his part, when he heard the letterbox rattle.
When he had read the letter, which contained the name and address of a woman who the investigating agency had deduced might be his birth mother, he went to the train station instead of going to work and set out on a journey to find this woman. As he travelled, he met various people and encountered various situations which made him remember details of his early life. It was poignant.
Finally, he arrived at the address and met the woman named in the letter and they talked at some length before it became clear that she couldn’t be his mother after all. It’s possible that he would never find what he was looking for but maybe, after all these years, the search itself was more important than the answers he might one day find.