In an instant

by Lewis

I never thought that is how it would happen. But honestly, it was just one of those things, you’re running down the road and suddenly wallop, it hits you. I always thought, you know, that love itself would be instant, a knowing that is distinctly, recognisably and irrefutably love. But it wasn’t the feeling that was instant, there was no ‘love at first sight’ feeling, there was just AN instant, me, hobbling down the road and suddenly realising of all things, I was in love, and with Herb of all people. Oh, me and Mr H Garden, go way back of course and you know he’d always scrubbed up ok. But what made me realise at that exact moment, as I hurriedly tapped my way down the cold concrete. P’raps it was knowing there was a pile of unwashed dishes that I’d left behind, or the fact I didn’t even grab my coat, I never go anywhere without my coat; if you always take the weather with you then you better always take your coat, that’s what I always say. I mean he wasn’t even good with people mind, never had been a pleaser, too busy buried in his trinkets and what not. Not like me with friends always over, a social moth or whatever it’s called. But I always knew he cared. Donated to charity, volunteered for all sorts, barely said a word to anyone of course, but he was there. Quietly getting on, helping, fixing. The thing is I was always so busy, who has the time to notice things like that when you’re young. Too much cake on offer right in front of your eyes to notice the fruit bowl in the corner. But then you get older and you realise too much cake causes nothing but a clogged heart, which is no good for nothing. So when one day he just started coming round, fixing bits, tidying up the garden, checking the cupboards were stocked, I just let him. Daft bugger I thought at first. But I became so used to having him around that the house started to feel empty without his grumbling and hammering. He had a smell of the sea, though ill be blown if he ever actually went fishing, but it reminded me of salty herring. It was vitalising, nutritious almost. Event then I still didn’t realise. What a twallop. But you don’t appreciate it do you, not really when it’s there, it’s like the heating, it just happens up until the point the bloody boiler goes and your freezing your whatcha-me-callems off. Now look at me, dumbfounded by a love so obvious, running down the street, hoping he’s ok, maybe it was just a fall or something like that. The neighbour hadn’t said what happened just that he’d asked for me and to come quick. So all I could do was hope. Hope that I’m not too late.