Simon is the son of a celebrated art historian, Kristin, who is a staunch left-wing feminist and has recently published her autobiograpy, in which there is no mention of her two sons. When they come home to celebrate her birthday, they confront her about the way she neglected them. The following speech recounts an especially traumatic experience in Simon’s childhood which would never have happened if Kristin had been looking out for him…

Do you remember once I came to Italy on my own? It was the summer. I must have been – what – eleven? […] Dad put me on the train in London. You were supposed to pick me up in Genoa. […] But something happened and you never made it. I mean, you did eventually but it was like a day later. […] I remember all the trains had come in and all the people had been greeted by their families or friends and I sat watching them and waiting to spot your face in the crowd.[…] But it got dark and you never came. It must have been one in the morning and I was lying on this bench when this man approached me. […] He asked if I was alright – […] And I said that I was and that I was waiting for my mother but that she would be there soon and that I would wait for her until she got there. […] And then he said, ‘Why don’t you come back to my house and have something to eat and you can rest and then I’ll bring you back in the morning.’ […] And even though […] I knew […] that it was wrong for me to follow this man back to his house, I stood up and picked up my bag and followed him.[…]  And part of me was thinking – ‘This will show her, this will fucking show her.’ […] So we walked through the streets of Genoa and […] eventually we got to this old building. […] His flat was at the top and he opened the door and let me in. He asked me to sit down and then he gave me a glass of wine and made some joke about not telling my parents. […] And then he cooked a meal. […] He made pasta with a tomato sauce. […] and I noticed that he was nervous and that his hands were shaking a little and I could feel the wine whoosing around in my head. […] I asked him if I could use the bathroom so he took me down the hall and showed me where it was.[…] I remember the light in the bathroom was very weak as if the bulb was broken or something, it was quite dark. So that when I looked into the mirror I could only just see my face. I stood there for some time just staring at myself and wondering why you hadn’t shown up at the station. […] And it was when I was trying to see my face in the mirror that I heard him breathing outside the door. So he’d been standing there all along, on the other side of the door. And then I tried to open it, to open the door but it was jammed. […] As if he was blocking it from the other side. […] Then after a little it opened and he wasn’t there. He was back in the kitchen. So I went back. […] After we’d eaten […] he asked me if I wanted to sleep in his bed with him and I said that I didn’t. Then he took some sheets out of a cupboard and turned the sofa into a bed for me and then he said he’d wake me at six in the morning and walk me back to the station. And that’s what he did. […] Lately I can’t seem to get that night out of my head. I keep thinking of myself trying to find my face in the mirror in the dim-lit bathroom of that dark building in that strange and foreign city. […] Where were you? […] Where were you? Where were you? You were never there.