20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers


A Letter to Laura

Dear Laura

I know you’re anxious to be off into the world after such a cloistered existence but going over the wall is not the answer.

In so many ways you’re an adult beyond your years and in many others, much younger than 16, so the outside world is going to eat you up, just like that big, bad wolf.

The tattered remains of your childhood may not be much of a comfort blanket but that does not mean you need to panic. Besides, it doesn’t matter whether you’re running towards or away, the terrors will always pursue you.

Better to stride out having planned your journey, more than one step at a time. Even better, seek fellow travellers instead of being so self-reliant and then falling by the wayside where only passing vagrants can help you along.

You’ll need much more sustenance before you set out – why don’t you sleep on it?

With love now and always


p.s. Did anyone ever tell you just how precious you are?


Have a heart

“One quick change at Surbiton and I’ll soon be there” or so I thought until the platform announcer alerted us to train delays because a passenger at Putney had fallen ill. Curses, curses, did a drunk fall over, a drug addict lock herself in the toilet (this had once held up my journey for nearly an hour) or has someone fainted because they are on the latest fad diet and skipped breakfast?

Time froze in the cold, polite silence of discontent that we post-privatization, British rail travellers exemplify, until a local citizen and self-appointed town crier, broke the ice. He limped up and down the platforms, cursing our resignation, the cost of fares and the fact that a man had had a heart attack at a station down the line, and nearly 4 hours later, trains were still running late. Whilst no one acknowledged his objections, we were all quietly relieved to have them voiced for us in such uncensored tones.

And then it hit me – 8 a.m! Was the man, on his way to work, when his heart halted?  Was he in a rush, stressed, did he have a family and was it a fatality? Apologies to the passenger from Putney – it was your journey that was really delayed. Such a lot of negative energy was sent your way from disgruntled travellers – I do hope a ‘Get Well Soon’ is in order.

Double chin and two lattes

I turn the corner and there you are walking towards me – arms out in front with a takeaway tray of coffees. For a moment I imagined you were preparing to give me a hug

Too late to take the side turn and avoidance; our passing is inevitable. Opening with effusive greetings of welcome and surprise, the gambit takes me aback. You roll my name round your tongue in that enchantingly familiar fashion and I, like a dog with a ball, run to retrieve it.

Brought to heel and yet longing to escape. Love has slipped through time into ambivalence and above the small talk, thoughts resonate so loudly that I attend twice as hard for fear I may speak the unspoken. All the while, our eyes forage for the recognisable from the changes that age and absence have wrung together.

“Must go, before these go cold”. We both look at the coffees pointedly. Am I supposed to think you’ve developed a serious caffeine addiction or to know only too well, that you are still keeping the love nest warm.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,787 other followers

%d bloggers like this: