"Summers Past" by Wayne Cook

As he walked, shoulders slightly bowed, hands clasped behind his back,  along the well trodden grass, that formed a makeshift path through the avenue of weeping willow trees, that floated gently overhead,  his mind turned to summers gone by.

The smell of a freshly cut lawn, the purr of a rotary lawnmower being pushed and pulled back and forth.  Birds chirping happily in the trees or on roofs, as children played with gay abandon in the streets, jumping out of the way of bicycles and carts drawn by large, sluggish shire horses. The driver booming out his traditional "Raggggggg bonnnnnnne!!!!!" and giving out balloons or goldfish to the children who handed over their mishmash of clothes and toys.

The clatter of the milk float over cobbled streets,  the bottles gently kissing and clinking together,  as they jumped ever so carefully from their crates.

Those were the days before mobile phones and mp3 players filled the air with a cacophony of digital beeps and drones. No one talked anymore,  it was all, text this, Facebook that, tweet the other, as if conversation was an alien lifeform, consigned to a deep underground laboratory,  to be prodded and probed to see how it worked.
No more mothers stood on the back door step shouting their offspring in for tea at the table,  now they sat on the couch,  sending an instant message on the phone,  silently calling them home like a dog whistle,  the radio waves guiding them home like a homing beacon.

He remembered sunlit walks along the river with his beloved Emily,  the bright rays bouncing off the surface and making them both squint. 

They watched the serene glide of a boat being rowed along the water, as young ladies laid back in their seats sipping wine as their beaus rolled up their sleeves to navigate around the long sweeping bends.

This was a time when families came together and lazed in the park, eating picnics or joining complete strangers for a game of football, cricket or rounders.

Those long warm days that stretched onto twilight and he would remove his jacket to place over Emilys chilly shoulders,  before walking her home and getting a quickly stolen kiss on the cheek as his reward.

How he longed to see Emily again, to walk her down this path again, hand in hand, picking and eating blackberries and cherries,  whilst happily planning a dance date at the weekend in "The Fiesta"

Too much time had passed by now,  Emily no longer with him, but he still came here every week en route to the churchyard,  picking her favourite wild flowers to lay on her grave.

The conversations were all one way now,  but he would always have his memories.

First published 


FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words).  So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?
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