Wooden Poles

Paul was standing outside the family saloon, a dirty cheap car, where family arguments took place. As usual his parents were busy blaming each other’s parents for the situations they found themselves in, as if responsibility was somehow genetic. Wagging fingers and raised voices, shedding tears and misunderstanding, things said in anger that would echo in their ears for decades, blown down those dusty roads , the crumpled crisp packets of our dreams , falling out of family saloon cars , blown by anger, fueled by emotion, crisp packets crumpled in our hands, frowns crumpled on our faces.
So Paul watched, turned, looked at the floor, the sky, the knot-hole in the fence, and then he saw, through the hole, the man sitting at the edge of the kerb, through the keyhole, knot hole. Grey trousers, white shirt, chest bobbing sobbing, weeping, ruffling his hair and wondering, what thoughts flitted through his mind. Paul reached in his packet, for a sweet, or something to cheer up the man, something to forget the heat, the row, the shame. He found a bank note, a gift from a relative, the one they’d seen, smelt–of-wee-whiskered lady, skin paper thin veins like a road map, stretched by years, slipped him a note and winked, she’d known what age does to us all and that we’d never be cool once bladder control had gone. Poked it through the hole, and said to the sobbing man “Here, take this”. He stood up shaking his head, weeping, sobbing, shaking, seeping. Took the money, wrote a name, poked it back, and fled.


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