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Mar 2018
The morning scene from the balcony
of the flats is before you, the sky light
blue, washed out, dim clouds. You see

kids playing on the pram sheds, in the
Square, skip-rope or football or riding
bikes too big for them. Down below,

Lydia, comes out of her parents' flat
and stands on the red tile doorstep and
peers out. You call down to her and she

looks up. You ask if she wants to go see
steam trains at London Bridge. She says
yes and comes up the stairs. The coal lorry

stops across the way; the coal man gets
down from his cabin. Two boys play cowboys
down by the fence, riding their invisible

horses out of sight. Lydia comes up on to
the balcony. She's dressed in her dull red
dress; her straight hair is brushed unskilfully.

You tell your mother where you are going
and she says ok, but be careful. You walk
with Lydia down the concrete stairs. She

talks of her mother's moans and her father's
talk of overtime and where he's going and
on which train. You reach the ground floor

and walk through the Square, down the *****
and along Rockingham Street. You talk of
the film your old man is taking you to see

on Saturday, some Western film. She talks
of her big sister coming in at an unsociable
hour(her mother's word) and puking most

of the night keeping her awake on and off.
A train steams over the railway bridge noisily.
You walk past the post office and turn right.

Traffic passes by. You show her a pack of
stamps you bought for your stamp collection.
She looks at them disinterestedly.  You walk

past the police station where you once took
a pigeon that had a damaged wing trapped
in cardboard box. You wonder what happened

to it as you walk past. The policeman stared at
you then the box and smiled at you an innocent child.
Terry Collett
Written by
Terry Collett  73/M/England
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