On the day in question, she took the black tarmac path that snakes behind the row of terraced houses. Houses with their postage stamp gardens that are secreted away behind red brick walls. They sit prettily on the edge of the small English market town. Across the width of the path are the allotments. Every forty or so feet of its length is a rusted old gate. The homeowners could slip out of the doors of their walled gardens and walk to their patch. Sectioned plots of land just big enough for fruit, vegetables and herbs to grow. Each one has a rickety wooden shed, some are just used for hiding Dads from noisy homes, while others are potting and tool sheds. Some of them are the holders of secrets, places where illicit pairings take place.
As she walked, she looked at the bustle going on both in and around the allotments. Old men nod in acknowledgement to each other; men with no need to waste words on pleasantries. Years of shared knowledge and friendship, camaraderie and memories have passed between them. Women with their hair covered, and gloves protecting their hands, lean on wheelbarrows and forks. Girls laughing at secret stories. A young woman colours as she looks about her, checking she isn’t overheard. An elderly couple stop what they are doing to smile at each other, and touch fingertips …
A shared silent moment.
Life carries on around her as she continues on the path. The sun shines on this crisp morning, birds sing and dogs wag their tails. A small boy on a micro scooter passes her, head down. He is furiously concentrating on the pounding of his white trainer against the path. A flob of spit left his mouth as he passed, it slapped her stocking covered leg. Wiping the saliva with a tissue, she curled her lip in distaste; then carried on.
The path comes to a halt and spills onto a green where a dozen impressive buildings stand around the edge. Briskly she picked up speed, looking for the large blue door of the doctor’s surgery. Inside they were very efficient, she was seen quickly. Fifteen minutes later it was over, she fastened her coat and left the building. Standing for a moment, she took a shuddering intake of breath and walked back along the path. Her legs trembled as she concentrated on the rapping sound her shoes made against the tarmac surface. Holding her head high she blinked furiously while wearing a fixed determined expression on her face.
All was changed, her world had tilted in a second. But life on and around the path continued. Birds sang the sun began to shine as the wind dried her lashes.