Going Back by R.T Hardwick

The friendly taxi driver wound down his window and asked:  'Where to, mate?' 

'Taunton Avenue,' I replied. 

'Other side of town.' 

'I know.' 

I settled in beside him. 

'On holiday, are you?' 

'No. I used to live here. I need to see the old place again.' 

The taxi sped along the High Street past the Co-op where they used to cut butter from a huge mountain and wrap it in blue paper . The cashier would seal my mum’s pound note in a huge wooden salt-cellar and whisk it along some wires to an invisible cash office. 'Staying long?' 

'Just today.' 

'Not surprised. Not much to see around here.' 

'I came to meet someone.' 

'Friend?' 

'Used to be.' 

He nodded and pushed the indicator stalk down to show he was turning left. We drove past the sports field where I'd played football all those years ago. 

'Shame about the vandals,' he said, 'setting fire to the pavilion like that.' 

'Wouldn't have happened in my day,' I replied. 

We drove another quarter of a mile until we reached a street of modest semi-detached houses with small neat gardens in front. 

'Taunton Avenue,' said the taxi driver. 

'I know.' 

'What number?' 

'Sixty-five.' 

He set me down outside the front gate. 

'Six quid, mate.' 

'Keep a pound for yourself.' 

'Ta. Been nice chatting to you.' 

With that, he drove away. 

She was weeding, kneeling on a board. She got up stiffly, wiped her hands on her overall and came over to meet me. 

'I'll fetch them.' 

She entered the house and came back with a bundle of papers. 

'They're all there.' 

'Thank you.' 

'That all?' 

'That's all.' 

She resumed her weeding and I took away the love letters I wrote to her when we were first married and I was away. 

Published in Issue #18

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