School and mall, pass it on

"Don't go too far, Katie," I cautioned, "Karate'll only be five minutes."

Katie was two and fearless. I was 62 and fearful whenever I babysat the grandchildren. At half-term I had both grandkids to watch on my own. 'Karate', six, was my son Dan Black's boy Daniel, the Fourth Dan in our family. He was in a shop across the way, where I could see the only door from where I sat.

"Okay, Gramps," Katie answered me brightly, wheeling her toy pushchair around where I sat on a long circular bench in a broad covered walkway of the shopping centre.

"Hello, Dan, mind if I sit?"

A silver-haired woman hovered next to me, holding a couple of shopping bags. Although she had changed much, the voice was unmistakable, as were those clear blue eyes.

"Of course," I replied civilly, "it's a free country, Mrs Evans."

"I'm Connie, Dan, please?"

"Sure, Connie, please forgive an irascible old man."

"A gentleman, Dan, not yet that old," she smiled beautifully. She always was beautiful, I remembered.

Connie sat next to me, depositing her bags on the floor by her legs, which still looked good, I also noticed. "We were best friends once, a long time ago.... And, almost...

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Tony Spencer
May 1 2020

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