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Safe in the Garden

Page 5

Darryl Emmerson

I wasted no time, but passed through the gate and walked home.

A little later my mother asked if I had had a good day. ‘Yes’, I said, nothing more, and went to sit on the veranda. Later, when Peter’s mother rang, to ask if I was all right, I explained to my parents what had happened, the cheating - as I saw it – and my coming home. My parents did not pursue it.

But now, years later, an approach was being made again. Why did I accept? Loneliness, I think, and an increasing restlessness. The town was small and feeling smaller, I longed to leave one day, and meanwhile wanted some action, or at least diversion.

So the Friday nights began.

[I could see he was getting into his stride, and the lunch time was nearly over, so I asked, “Hey Mike, not meaning to interrupt or anything, but could we continue this after work?”

He looked up, startled but not disturbed by the question.

“Oh, ok. You got some time then, have you?”

“Yes”, I said, “I have”.]

This time around, things with Peter went more smoothly. He seemed to enjoy appearing at our place each Friday, about six o’clock, for the forty minute drive. And he was a good driver too, accurate and purposeful. We’d arrive in Colac, change into the hired shoes - worn by so many other feet - get the balls, make up a team, find someone to play against, and just have a nice innocent evening. It all made a pleasant change from the methodical school week and my family, and moderated my restlessness.


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