Brief Encounter

Brief Encounter

I overtook him walking down the hill
‘A pleasant day for it!’, I hazarded.
‘Ah, not for me’ he warmly protested.
‘See how this weather makes my poor hands swell!’
I blamed my breezy bonhomie for that:
I can’t just walk on now; I have to chat.

He says – ‘six hours a day, or more, I walk.’
‘I like to keep healthy and independent.
‘I wish I was in regular employment.’
‘But doctors will not sign me back to work.’
I take this in and wonder what to think:
His speech is slurred; has he been on the drink?

He says – ‘I were born in the potteries.’
‘I went away to school in Hereford.’
‘My parents let me go without a word.’
‘The normal school just couldn’t cope with me.’
‘We did eat well there – often we had pheasant.’
‘And, for a School Board visit, venison.’

He says – ‘I used to work in forestry.’
‘I haven’t worked since 1991.’
‘Every fortnight I have an injection.’
‘My mental health these days is quite OK.’
‘Arthritis, now, is my worst bloody torment.’
‘(I lost my job from being violent.)’

We’ve come to a main road – I make to cross
And find that he is crossing too. I sigh,
Relieved when our ways part the other side,
I feared he could become my albatross.
Yet his small story left a residue with me
I felt, somehow, the largeness of humanity.

About the author

58 Up Votes
Silver divorcee with two adult children. I like nature and the arts. Too serious for my own good, tho not without a sense of humour ;-)

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26th Apr 2019
Thanks for voting!
Your ‘brief encounter’ has left me hanging. Very enjoyable, thankyou.

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