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Sep 2013
Fay sat opposite Naaman on the bus
from outside the cinema
to London Bridge
her fair hair tied

in a ponytail at the back
wearing the lime coloured dress
that Naaman liked
the white open sandals

touching at the toes
she was quiet
and looked out
the window

as the bus moved off
Naaman studied her profile
the way her hair
was drawn back

and tied with a black ribbon
her ear
with the small ear ring
her pale cheek

the eye blue
and gazing out
one hand over
the other on her lap

the nails clean
and neatly clipped
the bus stopped
and started

and people got off
and on

some standing
most sitting
when the bus
came to London Bridge

they got off
and crossed the road
and down by the Thames
where they stood

looking at the passing water
you’re quiet today
Naaman said
looking at her

beside him
her elbows resting
on the low stone wall
I was almost

not allowed to come
she said
he said

because the nuns said
I hadn’t performed as well
as they had expected
in my tests at school

she said
and so what happened?
he asked
my father was adamant

I was to stay home
and work at my school work
she said
but my mother said

I could do that
when I came back
and that it was only fair
that I have some time

of relaxation
and that caused a row
and then after fuming
and slamming around

the house he relented
and said I could go out
providing the visit
to London Bridge

had some historical merit
and I said it had
and that I was going
with you

she paused
and looked away
at a sailing boat
going by

and then what?
Naaman asked
he wasn’t happy about that
she replied

but I said you knew history
of the Bridge
and were going
to show me things

and he said do you
have to go
with the Jew boy?
I said I liked you

and he said
but his lot killed Jesus
and so on
Naaman gazed

at her lips as she spoke
he liked the way
her lips moved
as she talked

her eyes were bright
with an inner anger
then what did he do or say?
Naaman asked

he said I could go
but if he heard
any bad reports
there’d be trouble

and to know
what to expect
she sighed
he knew what was meant

but said nothing
how about something
to eat and drink?
he asked

I’ve only got 1/-6d
she said
which my mother gave me
on the quiet

I’ve got money
he said
my mum gave me
for chores I did

so they walked along
the embankment
to a cafe
and ordered two cokes

and shared sandwiches
and sat and talked
and watched boats
and ships pass by

on the river
she dreading going home
to her father’s possible

but not saying
he thinking
of the Roman fort
across the water

centuries before
she looking at Naaman
thinking of the kiss last time
now wanting it more.
Terry Collett
Written by
Terry Collett  Sussex, England
(Sussex, England)   
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