The Phoenix Time #14


Later, she decided to go for a walk. She drove to a local beauty spot, found a bench to sit on and looked at the birds by and on the lake – flapping their wings as they took-off, and again when coming in to splash down,  but also when squabbling. ‘Just like people,’ she thought. She watched the condensation trail of a plane flying high overhead. Almost as soon as it passed a point the trail was blown apart by the Jetstream as if forgotten.

“These next, final years aren’t a rehearsal, Charlie.”

‘How soon after I die will I be forgotten – no medal to my name as any soldier might? Perhaps not even a headstone on a grave. Just ashes scattered somewhere like that condensation trail.’


She wondered if a cigarette might help. She hadn’t smoked since she was first married. ‘Perhaps a glass of wine when I get home.’

Just then, her reverie was disturbed by a woman of a similar age, asking was there room on the bench for her to sit too.

Her name was Phyllis. She was five-foot-five or so, short, mousy hair and wearing hiking clothes and boots It soon turned out that Phyllis also needed company. She didn’t have any children and her husband was in hospital, seriously ill. She was worried. If anything were to happen to him she didn’t know how she’d cope -financially or in any other way. She just wanted someone to talk to.

Charlotte wasn’t sure that this was the kind of conversation that she needed at that moment, but she took pity on the stranger and let her tell her tale. “There’s always someone worse off than yourself isn’t there?” She wondered as she listened.

There was a small café open within a few hundred yards of the bench, and they both went over to chat over a cup of tea. Before too long the stranger looked at her wristwatch and announced that she needed to get to the hospital for afternoon visiting and thanked Charlotte for listening.   Truth be told, Charlotte had hoped that the other woman would pause long enough to allow her to offload her own worries. Still, perhaps this was her good deed for the day.

Walking back to the car, it struck her that she hadn’t given a thought to her normal housework routine all day.

“What the Hell!’ she thought, ‘Who’s going to see the place?”

Then she remembered that Frank had agreed to return after tea for the joint phone chat with David – assuming that David would be in of course. That thought brought her back to her own evening meal. She hadn’t taken anything out ready for it.

She wondered where Frank would be eating. Perhaps they could meet up and have a meal out together – neutral ground: she wouldn’t need to cook and they could go back to the house together afterwards to make the phone call. She took out her smartphone to text him. His reply was almost instantaneous.

“Any suggestions as to where and what time?”

Featured Photo

Here’s another photo that I took while dog walking on an area of reclaimed industrial land near where I live. I w decided to photograph this because of the way the S-curved path is framed by its surroundings and by how the angle of the bridge leads the eye in towards the path’s continuance.

I used my Pentax KP cropped sensor camera to take the photo using a 28-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 full-frame lens. The shutter speed was 1/60 secs @ f/8 and focal length 28 mm. The ISO was 100. The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic with additional editing in Topaz Denoise AI.

Author: writingandphotography0531

I am a retired local government officer. At that time, I was an IT manager and had associated responsibilities for training. I have previously been involved, in various organisations, with aspects of industrial training and management development. My hobby is photography and, until recently, hillwalking in Snowdonia. I have just written my first novel, Persephone and the Photographer, published as a Kindle eBook.

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