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Vol.3. No. 2. January 2010





Andrew Campbell-Kearsey
Claire Godden-Rowland
Dike Okoro
Dominic James
Emmanuel Sigauke
Mandy Pannett
Noel Williams
N Quentin Woolf
Olu Oguibe
Paul Jeffcutt
Sharma Taylor
Susanna Roxman
W Jack Savage





Andrew Campbell-Kearsey


I can't recall the last time I polished shoes but I will make the effort today. I remember the rigmarole as a child. My father had a complete array of brushes and cloths. A strict order of application was always necessary. Now it is easier. You sponge the polish on and wait for it to dry. He would call it immoral - as were all short cuts in his eyes.


I had difficulty sleeping last night; too many things to think about. I haven't exactly worked out a speech, but do I know the gist of what I want to say when I get there this evening.


I relax into Doris Day extolling the virtues of the Deadwood Stage. I used to sing along with my mother as she ironed. I would make my own stage coach out of the laundry basket. That, of course, was when music bad technically been allowed in our home. Even at the age of three or four, I knew that her voice was not terribly strong and that she could not hit the high notes. That didn't matter. It was an activity that we did together, without my father knowing. The record player was turned off just before he was expected home. I can't recall exactly when the strict 'No music' rule came into our home. I do remember, at my sixth birthday party, my mother clapping so that we could play a kind of unmusical bumps. When she stopped applauding we had to sit down abruptly on the floor.


It is no good. I am unable to concentrate on the movie. I will start the drive. It is not a terribly long journey. I reckon it will take just over an hour, but it is not a route I have taken for over twenty-five years. I have successfully avoided any reason to visit that particular suburb.


I park the car by the familiar parade of shops. How on earth do some of these shops keep going? Who buys wool and knitting patterns these days? The post office has gone. There is some sort of dell with a startling range of . olives. The same bench is there, dedicated to Ethel Snodgrass' dog. I can not work out why I ever thought that so hysterically funny. The paving stones which had wheel width size grooves in them, where I would park my Chopper, were still there but filled in with rubbish and moss. I pass my old primary school. There is now an Asian headteacher and a female caretaker. Would a forensic team be able to track down any of my DNA? I was far too well-behaved to leave any graffiti; scared of the disproportionate punishment from home rather than possessing a strong inner moral code. Naturally, it all seems smaller than in my memory. I wonder if the same would be true for my parents. I know that they are both alive from the announcement. Maybe they have shrunk. It seems to happen with age. Perhaps my mother has been ravaged by osteoporosis. Hopefully my father will have been cut down to size.


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Andrew Campbell-Kearsey is a retired schoolteacher. He has had several stories published in the small press in the UK and has won five writing competitions.



Sentinel Literary Quarterly is Published by Sentinel Poetry Movement | Editor: Nnorom Azuonye

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