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Safe in the Garden

Page 2

It was clear this was going to take some time, but I didn’t mind, it was good to get to know him a bit better.

That day he seemed to feel it was time to go, after all, but, not far out of the place, just as he was nearing a particular corner, he saw one of those bunches of flowers people put up, where an accident has occurred. You see these tributes quite often now, but something about the spot made him stop. There was some special configuration of trees, a broken fence nearby, a side road which wandered off, wisps of cloud, something took his attention, and he slowed down.

“I left the car, and went a bit closer. The flowers had begun to fade, the white ones had rust on them, and the note that went with them was illegible. Someone had died here, a while ago, and this was their memorial, embarrassing to some people, I suppose, but genuine enough. And I began to realise why I’d stopped here. This was the very place where, years before, I had got out of another car…

In my late teens I had very few friends. Most kids of my age came into our town by bus each day, then later returned home. We lived right in the town, my people ran a little shop, and I rarely met my school mates in the evenings or even on the weekend. And it was a fairly closed, hard-working community. For most of my friends the day began around dawn, when they got up to help their parents with the milking. The farming families had a lot to do, every single day, there was little time or money for pleasure. Of course there was always sport, but if it wasn’t your bag - and it wasn’t mine – by necessity you kept to yourself.

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