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Author: Subject: OLD TOM ( a short story)
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[*] Post 343963 posted on 29-7-2008 at 16:33 Reply With Quote
OLD TOM ( a short story)



OLD TOM




They pushed his wheel chair near to the window, placed what passed for a cup of tea on the table beside him, and went to deal with next person. “Did you watch … No, but I heard about … really, who’d have thought …” There was something soothing about their inane chatter. The window was open. New mown grass, daisies, and wood smoke scented the breeze that danced on his memory.

September it was, hay making, on just such a day as today. All scythes and pitchforks then, no fancy machinery making noise and smells. There she was. Walking across the fields, picnic basket over her arm, jug of cider in her hand, hair the colour of ripe corn. All the men stopped work - and not just for the lunch, neither, but to watch her walk. Like dancing it was. Well, they could look, but her smiles were all for him.

Rumble of wheels, footsteps. Another one washed, dressed, and left to sit by the window. Jolt, two pairs of hands pull him upright in the chair, and shake him roughly. “Gotta keep wakin’ ‘em up or they don’t sleep at night. Like kids they are. Did I tell you about …” hands pat his shoulder, voices drift away.

Her hands now, they were different. Rough, from working hard in the fields, but gentle. Always gentle. With him, with the children, with the grandchildren. She was always gentle. She loved to lie in their soft bed, talking over their day, making plans, always stroking his hair and playing with his fingers to soothe him into sleep. No-one touches him now, well, none that matter. Duty contact only. Toilet, wash, dress, chair. Not uncaring exactly, but impersonal.

Swallows are dancing in the sky, way marking, soon be gone now. He remembers how she loved to watch them wheeling and diving about house. Saying their goodbyes, she fancied. Well, she always was a dreamer. She was took ill in the Spring, when the Swallows were just arriving, and she died when they left, in Autumn. He wishes they would go now and leave him be. His memories have become painful.

His brain cries ‘Help me’, but his voice won’t work, Hands shaking, can’t reach the bell. Pain beyond pain, then a soft, familiar touch smoothes his hair. “Come to me, my lovely, I’ll take of you now”. Gentle fingers take his hand and, suddenly, they are young again. Tom and Kate, walking through the hayfield, laughing in the sunlight.

They push his wheelchair away from the window into a side room.
“Best leave him in here. Doctor’ll be along soon - no hurry.”
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the bear
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[*] Post 343967 posted on 29-7-2008 at 16:52 Reply With Quote


Once again, "thank you for sharing"

One of lifes "truths" mellowed by gentle memories. Excellent


Regards the Bear
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[*] Post 343995 posted on 29-7-2008 at 22:31 Reply With Quote


Brought a tear to my eyes being a country lad.
How many will have such memories in the future?
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