George stood on the door step and smelt the sea. He took one of his famous long breaths and tasted salt on his tongue. Shutting his eyes he started to sway as the sea scent became airy and lifted his hair. More than anything today he wanted to write again with her pen and wait for what she had to say. He had faith. He had always been a faithful child, even when his family divided themselves into parts, spending christmases in different houses, cultivating conversations where strange silences strayed into code words and he was asked to read a book in his room so as not to be involved in their bitter murmurs and namings.
Of course the face in the wall knew this, knew it all. All with a drawl, with drawn out vowel sounds that would one day shake the heads of this petty household into regret. But would they regret anything or would they just blame chance, fate perhaps with a large unwieldy ‘F’. George had seen the face as soon as he returned for the funeral party. His family assembled like dark suited crows, devouring the huge buffet spread of meat, eyeing at each other, listening for weakness, hoping for something revealed. He had walked into the hall and lifted his head hoping to see her again waiting for him on the stair. But she could not appear yet and then he had seen the face and even though the face frowned, George knew the frown was not for him.
So her he was, once again at the kitchen table, filling a large toroiseshell pen with ink and waiting to see what she would begin to tell him. Perhaps the sea was a hint. She had loved the sea. She had read Treasure Island with him when he had come to stay and had that long cough which filled the house but didn’t hurt and made her find honey and lemon from the pantry she had called her special place.
Carol Ann Duffy 15 ideas!
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