The bench in the garden


Eyes closed, face turned up to the sun, I sigh. The heavy silence of lock-down is lightened by a joyful blackbird and the gurgling waterfall in his koi pond. I hear a cheery voice, ‘Good Morning. Lovely day,’ from the other side of the high wall. I cross my legs and support my throbbing left arm with my right, taking the weight of the sling off my neck.

I open my eyes as a rumbling noise disturbs the peace, a lorry is going slowly along the kerb. I can just see the top of it. A name painted on the side reads, ‘The Grim Sweeper’. I give a lop-sided smile, wince, and glance at my watch. Another sigh escapes as I see it’s nearly lunch time. Scrambled egg. What will be wrong this time? Too runny? Toast burnt? Too slow to produce it? There’s no cake either. Can’t make any more because flour’s in short supply. What’s the punishment for no cake?

He’s coming down the path. I stiffen and uncross my legs, ready for flight, but, there’s nowhere to run to. I don’t look at him as he sits beside me, his leg touching mine.

‘Sorry,’ he says. ‘I don’t know why I get so angry. You know I love you. Forgive me?’

His arm goes around me and I feel his strong, warm hand, so quick to hurt, stroking my bare arm. Now I must snuggle and rest my head on his chest.

I tell him he’s forgiven.