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Feb 2016
I walked Auntie's dog Dancer
across by the parade grounds
while Auntie did the washing
in the copper

the dog kept near me
as we walked
looking back at me
to make sure I hadn't got behind

we saw Auntie's friend Milly
with her 5 year old daughter Elsie

Dancer stopped and wagged its tail
and licked Milly's hand
and Elsie glared at me

hello Benny
Milly said

I said

say hello to Benny Elsie
Milly said

Elsie stared at her mother
then at me
hello to Benny Elsie
she said stiffly

no you bad girl
say it properly
or I'll slap your backside
Milly said

hello Benny
Elsie said grumpily

hello Elsie
I said politely
as Auntie said I should

what's your auntie doing?
Milly said

she's doing the washing
I said

o I see
well do you want
to come to our place
and have a glass of milk
and a biscuit?
she said

Dancer too?
I said

yes Dancer too
she said

Elsie pulled a face
and we walked back
to Milly's place
the other side
of the parade ground
and we went up
some black metal stairs
and into her flat

Milly went off
to the kitchen
with Dancer followingΒ Β 
to get him
a bowl of water
and us some
milk and biscuits

how are you?
I said to Elsie

she stared at me
like I was a bad smell
then said
hope you
don't stay long
I want to play
with my dolls
and don't want you
playing with them
boys don't play with dolls

I looked at her
trying to see
if there was a little bit
of a smile
but there wasn't
just her small lips
shut tight
and her eyes
looking at me

just come for milk
and biscuits
I said

Elsie put her hands
behind her back
and walked off
and sat on
a battered looking sofa

Milly brought us
milk and biscuits
and said to me
sit on the sofa
next to Elsie
and I'll go get
my cup of tea

off she went
and I sat next to Elsie
and she moved
along a bit
from me
and sipped her milk
and clutched her biscuits
in case Dancer came
and ate them
(which he would)

Milly came back
and sat down
in an old chair opposite
near the fireplace
with her cup of tea
well aren't
you two a pair
just like brother
and sister
Milly said smiling

don't want him
as a brother
Elsie said glumly

that's not nice Elsie
what's got into you
Milly said

Dancer came in
and sat opposite me
and wagged his tail
and looked at me
for a biscuit

I broke off a bit
and gave him some
and he took it gently
and it was gone
in the blink of an eye

then looked at Elsie
his head to one side
gazing at her

she broke off a bit
and gave it to me
to give to Dancer
and he took it gently
and then walked off
and sat down
by the fireplace

good dog
Elsie said

Milly talked
about her and Auntie
and about her husband
in Germany
and my uncle
in Korea

I sat a bit nearer
to Elsie as Milly talked
and Elsie looked at me
dark eyed and moody.
Terry Collett
Written by
Terry Collett  73/M/England
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