Yeah, Funny That...

by Matt Triewly

Preface

2011-08-25


White clouds drift leisurely across the blue sky. Vanilla sand. Turquoise sea.

Children play and laugh under the watchful eyes of mums and dads on the beach below the seawall.

Appley Park.

I'm sat on a bench with an old friend, Hopkins, and for want of a better term, we are chewing the fat.

I spot another acquaintance: Rachel.

She walks closer and stops.

She's in her mid fifties, bobbed dyed blonde hair, overweight and a chavvy tattoo on her forearm exposed where she has rolled up the sleeve of her denim jacket.

"Hi... how you doing?" She addresses me.

"Not too bad thanks, just taking in the sea air with an old friend."

I had intended to cycle to Puckpool then on the way back stop off, get a book out and have a drink of tea from my flask, but I had ran into Hopkins, who had had a similar idea, and we had ridden to Seaview and back.

"Ronnie's been diagnosed with bowel cancer... he's got five weeks of chemo, radiotherapy... and then an op,'" she informs us matter-of-factly.

I attempt to imagine nothingness.

"I'm really sorry to hear that... he's a nice bloke... I saw him not so long ago... he was out on his bike and seemed so relaxed... it's hard to believe."

"Yeah... he lived healthily... didn't drink... didn't smoke... took everything in his stride."

She looks awkward for a moment.

I remember him on his bike. I recall chatting to him about his retirement and then I see him hollow cheeked, sunken eyes, emaciated... dying.

"I'm sure he'll be alright, they've caught it early..."

"I'll be off now..."

"Send him my best wishes."

She strolls off in the direction of Puckpool and we both say goodbye.

"Funny that... we are born, reproduce... then die... all on this rock hurtling round a star in the middle of space," Hopkins muses.

"Yeah... funny that," I respond dreamily.

White clouds drift leisurely across the blue sky. Vanilla sand. Turquoise sea.

Children play and laugh under the watchful eyes of mums and dads on the beach below the seawall...

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