Every Wednesday, in the town centre’s coffee shop, a special guest would stick about for a few hours in the type of clothes her mother would have picked out for her eighty years back. Her cheeks were just as blushed, a warm pink, much like her dress and matching sun-hat. She’d sit in a straw chair outside the shop feasting on their produce – fondant fancies, coffee whilst wafting a plastic sword about the air with one tightly-closed eye… the usual things for budding pirates.
And she’d sit there. Not doing much but eating very neatly and looking out to the crowds of people, hoping to talk with some new faces. Her wrinkled hands would offer a soft wave that couldn’t even impede on a fly’s flight-path and most people who saw would offer a wide youthful wave back, the sort that made her smile youthfully. Sometimes, people gave her the time of day for a nice coffee and talk, even in the contradictory days where Summer thought itself Winter.
I regularly did so – she’s such a sweet, loves to hear about others’ and their childhoods. Last week, she asked if I’d ever climbed an intimidating structure.
“I climbed a scary tree once.” I said in a tone so velvety, I sounded nine again.
She laughed and honoured me as ‘The Brave Knight who conquered the Tree Fiend’, then asked if such a knight would join her crew, on ‘S.S. Back-garden scrap-heap’. Admiring her mental youthfulness, I agreed to it.
So, last Saturday, I took a couple of hours out of my quiet day to chase off the enemy pirates, friends she’d scouted on Thursday and Tuesdays, sharing ice-cream together afterwards when she’d prepared us tea, fondants and coffee.
Next Wednesday however, she wasn’t at the coffee shop.
I couldn’t help but cry.