Harry always looked forward to their Wednesday trysts. His spirits sparked up measurably. The afternoon was comfortably warm with a gentle wind blowing and they decided to visit the busy market. Harry stumbled on the uneven cobbled path and Helen lovingly took his arm and moved closer to his side. They stopped at the flower stall to admire the wall of colour.

“Never seen one of those before,” commented Harry, “and I know you like unusual things.” Harry bought a single rose and presented it to Helen who had a puzzled look on her face. They sauntered on through the market.

“Those tomatoes look great, Harry. And almost the same colour as this red rose. I think I’ll buy some.”

Harry’s gaze momentarily shifted towards Helen and then he quickly looked away. She didn’t notice.

“Let’s get some bananas,” suggested Helen. “They are just how I like them before they go soft and the skins get brown spots.”

“Helen, I know you like odd things, but those bananas have a faint pink tint? I’ve never seen those before either. This is really a very colourful market.”

The school playing fields were well filled with trees. “It’s good to see school fields full of trees. So often they are cut down to create sports areas or just sport brick buildings!”

“Harry, that was a terrible pun.”

“I know. Sorry, I thought it was funny.”

“It was,” Helen added with a smile.

Harry looked up into the clear blue sky. “Autumn seems to have arrived early this year,” he observed. “Or is it just another Indian summer like last year?”

“No. It’s still August and I remember last year only too well, but the Summer was not particularly memorable. It came and went and that was it.”

They continued on their way and left the market. To reach the old part of the town, they had to cross a busy road that was controlled by traffic lights. Pelican lights instructed pedestrians when it was safe to cross.

Helen grabbed Harry’s arm.

“Why did you do that?” asked Harry.

“You were about to cross.”

“Yes. It’s green.”

Cars began to move off across their path.

They waited until the lights changed to stop the traffic.

The bottom light illuminated. Helen pulled gently on his arm.

“Now what are you doing?” asked Harry clearly irritated. “First you pull me back and then you pull me forwards.”

“The cars have stopped and we can cross over.”

“But the light’s on red.”

“No, Harry, the green man is displaying. And can’t you hear the bleep?”

Harry looked up at the road traffic lights and simply stated that they were upside down.

“I think it’s time we got back to the hospital,” said Helen in a sad voice.


© Louis Brothnias (2011)


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