A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



And that. Mr Thrush, is just about all of my life,” smiled Annie, speaking to herself rather than to the thrush that had flown away anyway. “There was only one more affair that might be looked on as romantic in any way, and that happened not far short of my eightieth birthday, twenty years ago. And it was that extremely short time in my life in which a really large circle was to be closed.

What circle, you might ask, might that be?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Long ago, when I was five years old, I’d gone to school for the first time and started talking to one little boy. I can remember him now, cheeky face, slightly scruffy shorts, and eyes that glinted with mischief. And although I had reached the dizzy age of five I don’t think I’d ever spoken to a boy before. I doubt I’d ever wondered why there should be boys in the world when surely girls are quite sufficient for a happy life? The future was to teach me quite a lot!

Sam Pendy. That was his name, the boy who joked about seeing how high up the lavatory wall he could squirt his wee and me not having a clue what he meant but laughing along with him anyway.”

She struggled up from her chair and made her way into her small kitchen. Once the kettle was on she sat at the table, that old, old table that had been there all her life and was scarred with adventures of its own where this or that knife, over the years, had dug into its wooden surface and added something unique to its well used patina.

There was a fluttering by the kitchen window and she smiled.

So that's where you are, little friend,” she said quietly before she realised that the bird had actually somehow found its way to the inside of that window and was actually in the room itself. She had left the small quarter light window open, it being a hot May and the house in need of a draught, and forgotten to close it. Well, not exactly forgotten, it was awkward for her to get at, especially at the end of the day. But it was only ajar a little bit.

Clever old you finding your way in from outside,” she said, and Mr Thrush put his head on one side and actually fluttered down to perch on that battered old table not two feet away from where she placed her coffee cup. “I suppose you want to hear the end of my story. Well, not exactly the end because I’ll still be alive at the conclusion of my yarn, at least I hope I will”

She opened her biscuit jar and removed one ginger nut biscuit. “My favourite,” she sighed, “here, have a crumb or two! We’ll share.”

She sipped her coffee while Mr Thrush examined his ginger nut crumb appreciatively.

Well, this is jolly,” she sighed, “I was locked down to keep me safe and now here you are, locked down with me! But I bet you can find your way out the moment you want to.”

And as if to prove the truth behind her assumption and holding its ginger-nut crumb in its beak the thrush fluttered up to the window and with a twist of its lithe feathery body was gone.

My, you are clever,” she sighed, “Now where was I? Yes, that’s it: twenty years ago. That’s how long it is, and longer, since I kissed a man, though I have blown the odd old lady kiss at the occasional baby over those years!

But I was sitting in ma’s cafe, the one round the corner before you get into the shopping street, having a morning coffee on my own when an old man paused at my table and he looked at me. And as his eyes passed over me I recognised the twinkle in them and his name, hidden away in the back of my memory for so many years, came tumbling out.

Are you Sam?” I asked.

“’I thought it must be you,’ he said, ‘Annie Stoker as was!’

“’Well fancy that,’ I said with the biggest smile I’ve mustered in many a long year, ‘Sam Pendy, if I’ve remembered the name right!’

“’You’ve not changed much,’ he said, pulling the chair opposite mine out and sitting heavily in it.

“‘You always were a cheeky one!’ I laughed, and looked up towards the window where Mr Thrush had settled, this time on the outside, still clutching his ginger nut crumb and looking at me through his beady eyes.

“’You were a pretty wee thing,’ said Sam, grinning despite the artistry drawn by many long years on his face, “my mum, bless her, used to say you’d make a fine lass for a lad like me to woo when I grew to be a bit bigger.”

“’We didn’t think of such things when we were that small,”’ I protested, ‘I hardly knew what boys were!’

“’Nor me when it came to girls,’ he laughed, ‘fancy pig tails and grey skirts, that was girls.’

Annie sat and looked carefully at the old man’s face and marvelled how, despite eighty years of tracery, the original cheeky boy was still there.

So what have you been doing this past three quarters of a century, Sam?” she asked.

Married, kids, grand-kids, great grand-kids, worked as a copper till I retired, buried my misses, may the Lord bless her soul, and waiting for my turn to knock at the pearly gates. Oh, and so very, very happy to have bumped into Annie Stoker!”

Annie Grable, for my sins,” she told him, “And by the sound of it my story’s not unlike yours but for the copper bit.”

He looked at her closely, and leaned forwards. “I remember it was you that I told,” he whispered, “way back when I was a tiny tacker, how I’d see how high up the toilet wall I could pee?”

She laughed loud at that. “I remember,” she said, “and you’ll never guess how long it took for me to work out how a boy could do that! Not, in fact, until I married Klaus!”

It was rather naughty of me,” he admitted, “but then, you know, I was ignorant too. I thought that girls must have something under their skirts not unlike what I kept in my underpants and couldn’t understand the puzzled expression on your face.”

She nodded. “We were so innocent back then,” she sighed.

Innocent and guilty both at the same time,” he nodded.

How come?” she asked.

Well,” he grinned, “you remember that stairway up to the first floor at school, the one that went by the playground window?”

She nodded. She knew what he was going to say.

Well, us boys knew we could look at the lasses going up the stairs and see up their frocks and skirts to what they wore underneath,” he said.

Annie laughed at him. “And we girls knew,” she said, “and made sure you only saw what we wanted you to see!”

A lifetime ago,” he sighed, “and who would have thought it? A life time, and Annie.”

He stood up to leave. “We’ll have to talk again,” he said, “but I need to go. My waterworks. Very unreliable these days.”

And he dropped a tiny kiss onto her head as he passed her by.

And that had been that. All of it. Twenty years ago.

Well, Mr Thrush,” she said quietly, “it’s back into the other room where I can sit in front of the window and watch the locked down world go by…

He nodded. Of course he did. He always agreed with Annie.


© Peter Rogerson 30.05.20

© 2020 Peter Rogerson

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Added on May 30, 2020
Last Updated on May 30, 2020
Tags: endings, conclusion locked down


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..

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A Chapter by Peter Rogerson