Monday, 20 April 2015


I did a quick pull over when I spotted them waiting at the bus stop. Rob over six feet and Ethel under five.

‘Would you like a lift home?’ I asked.  

“It’s Christine, Rob,’ said Ethel.

They squeezed into my small compact car. It was a warm, lazy Sunday afternoon. Impulsively, I invited them to my home for lunch.

With a glass of cool lemonade, they walked into my garden while I prepared the food.  Rob took Ethel’s hand as they strolled through the patio door. I served our three plates with salad, slices of ham, and buttered rolls. Before calling them in, I stopped to watch the couple examining the leaves on one of my trees.  Ethel had asked to see the garden.  What did she mean by this, I wondered?

Ethel worked in a big factory where she typed for hours on a computer.  Rob worked in a garage on cars. Seeing was their trademark language, just like mine. How did they manage to cook their meals and clean their home?  How did they know which was the number 10 bus?

‘What is the tree you have with leaves shaped like a large hand?’ asked Rob.

‘You know the one with five large fingers with palms up waiting for something,’ added Ethel.  

They showed me leaves that I had been blind to.

From now on my ancient fig tree would be known as Rob and Ethel. A couple who had had thirteen eye operations between, registered blind. They didn't bother with white sticks. They had each other.

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