The Bandstand . . . . . .

Evergreen - - Contents Summer 2015 - Jacky Hutchins

The bandstand on the cliff lies empty now, Sur­rounded by deckchairs, faded, flap­ping And in a nearby shel­ter, bag be­side her, A woman crouches out of the wind, Clutch­ing her scarf and gaz­ing sight­less out to sea.

Across the spring­ing turf an old man treads Fresh from the Le­gion, with medals bright in rows, And, word­less, sits be­side her. She looks up, ir­ri­tated at the

in­ter­rup­tion, Want­ing to be alone with all her mem­o­ries But he stays silent and at last she of­fers Ther­mos tea.

“I re­mem­ber when this was all barbed wire.” He nods to­wards the empty beach, “Tank traps, and stakes. I manned that pill­box there — a ruin now of course. The kids get in, to smoke and that. Drugs too most like.” In uni­son they sigh. Their youth was not like this.

“We used to sit here, me and Ted,” she says at last. “I lost him at Dunkirk.” “A rum do, that, and no mis­take.” He clears

his throat. “It seems like it were only yesterday.”

And once more they fall silent, each remembering.

Af­ter a while, he rises, stiffly. “Nice

chat­ting, love. I must get off — Me grand­son’s com­ing for his tea. Thanks

for the nice hot cuppa, very welcome. Maybe we’ll meet again some sunny day.” A

wave and he is gone.

Out of the wind, the woman crouches,

gaz­ing sight­less out to sea. The bandstand on the cliff lies empty, sur­rounded by the deckchairs,

Faded, flap­ping . . .


The pav­il­ion at Frin­ton- on- Sea, Es­sex.

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