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Friday Flash Fiction: Frank

March 29, 2013

She jumped. It was that lad; she’d seen him before somewhere.
“Who are you?” Hannah demanded, struggling to get up. “What are you doing in my house?”

“It’s Mike. Just Mike, remember?” He helped her back to her seat. “I’ve brought you a visitor.”
Hannah looked over Mike’s shoulder at the visitor. Some old greybeard. Grinning at her. She knew him, she recognised… She would think of his name in a minute.
“Hello,” he said. “Sorry, I’m a bit wet. I biked over in the rain.”
He took off his dripping coat, and then sat in the chair beside her. She looked back out of the window, hoping to remember.

She liked riding to the shop where she worked. Frank had given her his bicycle, when he joined up. There was a basket on the front for her lunch. Bread and a scrape. Sometimes an apple.

It was raining outside. She used to play outside. She and her sister would sit on the scrubby grass with their dolls. Frank used to tease them about the cat. Martini. Stupid name for a fat, smelly tomcat. Frank said it was from Italy. Italy! Frank said it would scratch if they went over to his side of the wall. He said he’d trained it specially to scratch girls.

They pretended not to believe him but, even so, it kept them out of Frank’s garden. Even later, when he became her sweetheart – she was still nervous of crossing the wall. Frank said –

The old man had covered her hand with his. It gave her a turn, and she looked across at him sharply – Frank!

“You’re the spit of my Frank!”
The man smiled at her. “Yes,” he said.
“Just like him…” She narrowed her eyes, catching a flash of memory, calculating. “You’re not his uncle, are you? The one from Canada? Uncle Henry?”
She withdrew her hand as Uncle Henry’s smile faded.
“He wouldn’t like that, you know,” she said primly. “Holding hands with his sweetheart.”
“I’m not Frank’s uncle!” He sounded angry.
“You’re the spit of him,” she reproached.
“Because he’s my Dad. I’m William. William?”
“What nonsense! Your Dad? Rubbish! You’re an old man!” Hannah laboured back out of her chair, furious. “People are always lying to me! Why do you always lie?”

“Mum, mum – please!” The old man stood up more easily than she did and took her arms. Off balance, she held on. Her hands… She saw how wrinkled they were.

She began to weep.
She let this stranger embrace her.
He was so like her Frank.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2013 4:54 pm

    So sad…my grandpa has Alzheimer’s. You captured, very well, how strongly they remember the past but how slippery anything else can be. Nicely written.

    • March 30, 2013 9:41 pm

      Thank you very much.


  1. Memory | Ariadne

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