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Gran said
you can come with us
to the fair

Janice said
Provided your mum agrees
of course but Gran’s

already asked your mum
so it’s all right
you stood outside

the school gates
waiting for your mother
to come and pick you up

and so you said
Oh right that’ll be good
but you didn’t want Helen

to know you were going
to the fair with Janice
and even though

you hadn’t planned it
or asked for it
you still felt guilty

about going
with Janice to the fair
and when Helen

came out of school
and stood waiting
next to you

for her mother
you hoped Janice
wouldn’t say

anything about it
but Janice just stood there
smiling looking at Helen

as if to say he’s going with me
to the fair and you’re not
and Helen gazed at Janice

at the same time
putting her hand
near yours

and you could feel
her hand brush
against yours

and then she turned
and looked at you
through her

thick lens glasses
her eyes searching you
like a navigator

looking for a fresh route
to a new world
and Janice moved closer

on your other side
her hand seeking out
a finger to hold

and she said
Look here comes Gran
and she released

your finger and ran
and you stood with Helen

knowing her hand
was warm and feeling yours
and hoping she couldn’t

read minds
or thoughts
or know about the fair

and she said suddenly
giving your hand a squeeze
Here’s your mum and mine

let’s go meet them
and off you ran
following behind

feeling a sense of betrayal
being a traitor to Helen
in your 7 year old mind.


Terry Collett

Horsham, United Kingdom

  • Artist
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