Monday, 11 November 2013

The Flotsam and The Jetsam - The Gaberdine

He wears a black gabardine raincoat, a grey trilby and wellington boots, a good choice because it has been raining for most of the month and the river is swollen and threatening the pavements.

He walks with a limp - his right leg was damaged as a child in a farm accident - and he is carrying a bunch of roses, held upside down and close to his side to protect them as much as possible from the rain and wind which has driven most folk deep inside the warmth of their houses.

His face betrays no emotion but he is climbing to the cemetery on the other side of the river that carryies fallen leaves and not a few memories to an uncertain and distant ocean.

An hour later he returns still limping - this will never leave him - but his hands are empty.

He stops and talks to someone and though I can’t see his mouth and say for certain that he has little of his teeth left, I can hear that he talks with a lisp.

His whistling reaches me on the wind.

She is also wearing a raincoat and a small hat but no wellington boots, she is clearly intending to go nowhere and has been standing on the opposite corner for over an hour.

She is waiting for something, maybe for the rain to stop falling or maybe for her daughter to return to the village; she left for the city many years ago and doesn’t write.

If the woman had a mobile phone she might get the occasional text but technology decided a long time ago to have nothing to do with her.

So she stands on the corner getting wetter and wetter, and though her gaze has not wavered in the last hour it is now fixed on the back of the mans neck, which is not visible between the hat and gabardine collar which he turned up against the wind as he returned from the cemetery.

Maybe she knows him? They would have gone to the same school.

Apart from the young, people from this village don’t move away. They say that they like it here but the truth is that the village was made to suit the people who lived here already.

People who like the rain and the way it falls in torrents from the hills that circle the valley, people who like the silence that rests on the streets at night time.

People who wait.

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