We were ten-year-olds huddled in a spinning Alice In Wonderland cup at the fairground. Martha, my sweetheart, kept our dream alive, and we created Dolly’s Amusement and Theme Park.
Just one last look. Early morning, quiet, and I feel so proud for the pleasure people get from our dream. Soon, excited children and anxious dads goaded and dared to a ride on the Hell-Coaster will arrive.
We did good, Martha had said. She is calling me.
It is time. I feel my soul discard this body as I journey free and home to the other side. Is that you, Martha?
“Remember our nights in the Barrowland Ballroom. It was wild jigging and dancing. We went mad when Lulu sang ‘Shout’ and then there was ‘Let’s Twist Again.”.’
‘Oh Jack, you were lapping around me like a puppy.’
‘Ten times asking; are you dancing? You said not on your nelly.’
‘Bugger off, I said.’
‘We were wild, rocking around the floor, – everyone watching.’
‘What went wrong, Jack? Look at us.’
‘Fifty years, and they’re still watching.’
‘Aye, and I am still waiting. Are you asking?
‘Oh Maggie, enjoy the moment.’
‘Jack! It’s our tune “Let’s Get Married”.’
‘Yes, I know.’
It was a dare; we ran naked along the beach.
Months later, the best man embarrassed us. Who told him?
You decorated and choose pictures for our home.
One day you said, “Nothing lasts forever.”
You left and disappeared.
I never liked your taste in art, and I was pleased to dispose of our differences.
But you were wrong.
When I close my eyes, I am with you under the moonlight; swimming.
I dream of us bobbing in the warm water; floating with promises for eternity.
Without your spirit, I flounder in this lonely depth of my dark despairing sea.
I felt a headache and my vision blurred as blood dripped onto the desk.
My mind flew back in time and raced towards a barn, a place I don’t know.
Memories: mother, a dog, a swing, school, my navy days, Doreen, the children growing. A jumble of pictures, smiles and laughter, like a collage of fifty years flashing past.
Guilt crept up my spine with so much to repent and ask forgiveness for the way I treated my sick wife. Overindulgence with her insurance money.
What’s waiting in the barn? Is it Heaven or Hell?
Will Doreen be there?
I love the solitude of walking in the park; it reminds me of you asking to play ball with me. Afterwards, we grew in love sitting on a bench talking of brilliant futures.
I am alone tonight since Old Joe with his terrier are in the hostel. He once said the park was his kingdom of peace on Earth.
I believe him.
The snow muffles sound, and the crunch of footsteps are reassuring as I retrace my memories.
It has been years, but I can feel you holding my arm and see the snow sink with your footsteps by mine.
The arrow points towards the airport.
I have not slept for days since my thoughts tumbled and turned as they spun my problem back at me rejecting all solutions.
I’ve come around to a decision.
Tomorrow, they will not welcome me at the arrivals lounge.
Sod them. I will attend my ex-wife’s funeral.
We had lived as if on a roundabout with centrifugal forces pulling our emotions apart. Our love burning at our heels.
We chased after different dreams but promised we would be together again.
We lost; time won.
One day, if and only are the saddest of words.
‘It’s in the cellar. Each flat has a storage cage.’
She moved the boxes and we squeezed past towards the piano.
Our noses touched. I felt her heat; she brushed against me to open the lid.
‘You should get it tuned.’
As I played “Liebestruam”, I felt her breath in my ear.
‘You play so perfectly.’
She wrapped herself onto me, her chin on my shoulder.
I played on; my knees quavered, my heart in tremolo and I ached for her.
Poco a poco, our breathing accelerando.
‘You must stay.’
We were strangers, in love with music.
Ci baciamo adagio.
The draft wafted a fragrance of jasmine across the counter: I looked up.
‘Hello Joe, can I have one for the matinee?’ She fumbled in her handbag. ‘Usual seat, please.’
‘One? What’s happened to John?’
‘Please, I am in a hurry.’ She passed over the ten-dollar bill and grabbed the ticket. A silver ring rolled from her purse and fell behind the counter.
‘I’ll get that.’ I held it up as she walked away. ‘Carmen, your ring.’
‘Keep it, throw it. I don’t care.’
She slammed the door as she rushed out.
Yes! Tomorrow, I’ll ask her to dinner.
This week I prepared a basic book trailer for my novel MISSING. It is on my author page, if you would like to watch it..
You know Mary, this takes me back to our swimming galas.
Oh Jeff, fifty years ago and it seems like yesterday.
What did you used to say as we raced?
Yep, and I won the School Gold-Band five times.
Our grandchildren take after you, Mary. They should win the relay, again this year.
Persistence and practice, Jeff, that’s how you win trophies.
I know, but I always kept focused on the bigger prize.
Oh Jeff, are you jealous of my Olympic golds?
Mary you’re an inspiration and always were. What did you used to say?
You’ll never catch me.
When he stopped playing her tune, she threw him out.
‘And take your Steinway,’ she yelled. ‘It clutters up the place.’
For forty years he played on the street corner.
To the delight of commuters who dropped coins into his hat.
He never asked for a penny.
He lived and dreamed for music and to charm happy smiles from weary faces.
The lonely musician crawled under the lid one day, and citizens kept his piano as a memorial.
The passing shoppers can still hear Debussy being played.
Every day, when his wife waters the flowers on the musician’s grave.