U K Hero
PART ONE OF THREE
A Christmas Tale
On the Eve of Christmas in a world tottering on the edge of merry making, at a time of year when families and lovers are rejoicing together, there lies a cottage sadly void of both.
In a small hamlet in England called Littleworth here stands that small but quaint thatched cottage. Some say that a house can have character and even feelings towards the owner. If true, then this house would wail a sorrowful lament…
With walls adorned with climbing ivory
To meet its well groomed hair
Its mouth and eyes are smiling wide
To mask the sorrow there,
It hides the pride that lies inside
The cry’s of woe and worry
With wooden grin of thoughts within
It calls to winter’s flurry,
On Christmas Eve a joy of joys
It begs some help from him
It smiles again at northern wind
Through chimney it sneaks it in!
Blow hard north wind
Breathe true and harder still
For tonight, together
We’ll dislodge this lonesome ill.
And the north wind blew…
An old man resides within, known to the locals within the village as stumbling Archie a cruel jest for one so blighted.
Inside the cottage and at the end of the narrow and barren corridor lies the living room, an odd name as it’s almost void of life.
Very little decorates this room save for a few token gestures dotted along the top of the mantle piece, an old gramophone looking forlorn in the corner and a single picture hanging grimly on the wall. If you look closer you’ll notice that the picture is the only item within the room that’s not coated in a thick layer of dust.
Now the picture must be very important to the man, although it hangs slightly offset on the wall, you can tell it’s been handled many times by the mass of finger smudges which adorn the glass.
You can also assertion that the picture depicts a loving couple, the fact that it’s a black and white photograph mealy adds to its charm, to the lower right of the picture and written in pencil are the words;
May we never marry
Except to one another
And if we part
Then in solitude we tally
To pen our locality in paper.
Archie + Melanie
A fire, the centrepiece of the room crackles at odd occasions to break the stillness of that empty room but in the corner a ruffle, there is life!
He sits astride a crumpled chair
Like him both ageing and worn,
He’s waited alone with many a tear
Some fifty years and then one score
To see his Parisian flare!
He gazes endlessly-
At the picture upon the wall
He never married
He waited patiently
He never understood the meaning
Doesn’t read much
He can only touch its feeling!
A cruel life, at times-
Too much to bear;
He hobbles to the Gramophone
To play his favourite tune
He sits and thinks when all alone
Then melts away to the melody
To a place they call Paris’
To a time when he was younger
And true love was Melanie.
The wind did blow and the fire did crack…
O’ how they danced-
In clubs and bars
Through streets laden with wishing stares
A silly game like kids they played
In grounds of love we heard them say
Idyllic things and hints of rings,
A jest at leisure to test their sway.
Stupidity or crazy to fall so insanely-
On the eve of warring turmoil!
Blind to all
And blind he’s still
He remembers the hospital
The blackness and smell
He recalls the visit, a picture
And scent he know well,
He felt pain and remorse
The annoying bitter recourse
The words he said,
“I hate you”
It was the pain in his head,
His frustration and fear
A hand and a tear
He wished it would go all away,
And she did…
Blind he is, and blind he’ll stay.
And the fire cracked…
Through pain of eyes all bandaged tight
He called in haste to impute his sight-
To she who visited, but never replied,
His sense did flounder when most relied.
The wind blew harder and the fire cracked louder…
On hands and knees he bends down in front of the fire to stoke the dying embers; unable to see the glow he tests the distance with a waving hand, he can feel its dying warmth.
He should have stoked the fire a long time ago, such is the analogy of his life.
He fumbles for a pile of papers just to the left of the fireplace and leisurely selects the uppermost from the pile, as he begins to roll it into the shape of a funnel clearly seen on the outside edge of the paper are the words;
(THE TIMES Dec 24th 1949, personal column)
Searching for a man called Archie
A man who’s never married
Last seen in summer of forty
Forever as one we agreed.
In hope I search for love
Since we parted in gay Paris’
In silence I wait for him!
In darkness he waits for me…
Shame he can not see it…
The flash from that bomb killed his eyesight. It was one of the first to fall on the eve of the Second World War.
After a short spell in hospital he returned to England a bitter and twisted man. He was too quick to lay the blame on Melanie it wasn’t her fault, too late now.
He had seen a number of specialists and each one said the same,
“It’s just in your mind give it time.”
He never listened, he was blind to their advice and his life darker because of it. They say non-are as blind as those that will not see for Archie how poignant these words ring true…
End of Part One
By UK Hero and the very Talented Caroline