Barbara Gurney







                                            email contact: [email protected]

Time Pays No Heed


On my way to the train

There was a man sitting on a bench

I hurried by


On my way to the train

There was a man sitting on a bench on a veranda

I glanced at him


On my way to the train

There was a man sitting on a bench on a veranda, a dog at his side

I nodded


On my way to the train

There was a man sitting on a bench on a veranda, a dog at his side, a scarf around his neck,

I smiled


On my way to the train

There was a man sitting on a bench on a veranda, a dog at his side, a scarf around his neck, a book on his lap

I waved


On my way to the train

There was a man sitting on a bench on a veranda, a dog at his side, a scarf around his neck, a book on his lap, a cup of tea in his hand

I said hello


On my way to the train

There was a man sitting on a bench on a veranda, a dog at his side, a scarf around his neck, a book on his lap, a cup of tea in his hand, a walking stick leaning against the bench

I mentioned the weather


On my way to the train, there was a man sitting on a bench on a veranda, a dog at his side, a scarf around his neck, a book on his lap, a cup of tea in his hand, a walking stick leaning against the bench, a rug over his knee.

I stopped.

The dog came down to the picket fence, barking a greeting.

‘Hi, puppy,’ I said, even though the dog had a grey muzzle and walked slowly.

It put two hairy black paws on the horizontal beam. The doggy grin encouraged me to ruffle its fur and stroke its ears.

‘What’s the dog’s name?’

The man placed his cup on the concrete floor, patted his knee as he called the dog, ‘Here, boy.’ He waited for the dog to come to his side. ‘Bonnie. And I’m trying to train him not to bark at everyone who goes by.’

‘Oh, I’m sorry.’

‘That’s okay. You’re our regular. It’s nice to have regulars, don’t you think?’

I laughed. ‘Like old friends, you mean?’

‘Exactly,’ he replied.

We chatted about the memories created by watching the children on the other side of the road riding their bicycles, assumingly going to school. I told him he’d better drink his tea before it got cold. He reminded me I had a train to catch.


On my way to the train, there was a man sitting on a bench on a veranda, a dog at his side, a scarf around his neck, a book on his lap, a cup of tea in his hand, a walking stick leaning on the bench, a rug over his knee.

‘Nice scarf,’ I said.

‘Knitted by my favourite granddaughter.’

‘Do you have many grandchildren?’

He chuckled, which ended in a coughing fit. While he recovered, I patted Bonnie and let him lick my hand.

‘Only the one,’ he said.

‘That’s hilarious, I bet I’m your favourite passer-by who catches the train every morning at eight, who wears a ridiculous orange sun-hat, and is always running late because she stops and chats to you.’

‘Indeed.’

‘Are they your football team colours?’

They weren’t, but we spoke at length about coaches, umpires, pampered players and how neither of us had been to a game.

‘I better go. The train won’t wait.’

‘No,’ he said. ‘Time pays no heed.’

‘Only rushes to the end,’ I said.

‘See you tomorrow.’

I agreed.

At the corner I turned and waved again.


On my way to the train

There was no man sitting on the bench on the veranda

No dog to be at his side

No book for reading

No tea cup, no walking stick or rug for his knee

Just a lonely bench with a scarf and a lily

I lingered

I cried

The train came anyway


My Writing Groups


Gosnells Writers Circle

I've been a member since 2008. They produce SHOWCASE magazine as a way to encourage and inspire members to publish their short pieces. www.gosnellswriterscircle.org


Cover of Showcase 32 displays one of my paintings = A scene in the Czech Republic



Writefree Women's Writing Group

@ KSP Writers Centre, Greenmount WA

www.kspwriterscentre.com.au


A member since 2009 - a group of inspiring women who produce an anthology each year