Another writing group meeting this week – this is the small group who have been meeting on-line for the last nearly three years. we originally met in each other’s homes, taking it in turns to host, then when meeting was no longer possible or allowed, like many we started zooming. It wa not perfect but it had one advantage – we live in different parts of the county and it wasn’t easy to car share, so we would all have to drive to visit the host. So it now continues, still zoomy!
Like my other group, we have a monthly topic, and this month is reminiscence. This strikes me as different from a memory, which is just recalling something from the past – to me a reminiscence is dwelling on that memory. The on-line dictionary says:
a story told about a past event remembered by the narrator
a characteristic of one thing that is suggestive of another
Memory seems to be slightly more than that:
recollection, the act of remembering, the thing remembered.
I’ve written many pieces about the past, my past, some actual, some embroidered, some disguised, and I’ve written about the memories of my parents which they’d told us when we were children. Mostly I have written them as stories, with me as a narrator rather than participant, although obviously in those about my own life I was the central character! The following, which I have shared beofre, strikes me more of a reminiscence, however, unless I become absolutely stuck for inspiration, I won’t share it with my friends on Friday:
One summer’s night
It was one perfect summer night, the air was still and warm, with just the slightest breeze to make it pleasant. They were at a pub far from either of their homes, and she was waiting in the garden for her drink. She stood leaning on an old wooden rail looking over the moonlit bowling green. There were trellises all about, with roses rambling over and through, scenting the night air with their perfume. It was so calm, so peaceful, impossible to imagine on the other side of the world the navy was in combat against the Argentines that in the east Lebanon was falling into war.
But here, on the edge of the great city the evening was almost serene. There were lights at various points around the bowling green, but she stood in the shadows just enjoying the peace, and ignoring the disquieting voice of reason which whispered in a corner of her mind.
She was aware that someone else was leaning on the rail further on and sensed they had turned to look at her. She couldn’t make out anything about them, and no doubt she was similarly indistinct in the dusky darkness.
“Hi, it sure is a beautiful evening, isn’t it,” a polite American voice gently remarked.
She replied that indeed it was, perfect, in fact.
“This is such a nice old pub, it is very old… isn’t it?” he asked after a few moments.
“I believe it is, I think it might be the oldest pub in the area – but I might be mistaken. It is very, very old though!”
He sounded such a nice man, young like she was, that she continued the conversation, conscious all the time that her friend might return, and oddly thinking… thinking that this stranger sounded so… well… so nice…
There was a comfortable silence, and then he asked, as she thought he might, if he could perhaps buy her a drink.
“I’m so sorry, I’m with someone…” she replied, genuinely regretful. He in turn apologised, thinking perhaps that he’d been intrusive, or impertinent. She assured him that it was ok, it was just that…
“I haven’t embarrassed you?”
“No, not at all, it was kind… any other time…”
“Good night then…”
“Goodnight, and thank you…”
Her friend returned.
Their relationship continued, and for too long after it was finished she could not get over it. And from time to time she thought back to the unseen young American hidden by roses by the bowling green that summer night.