Terry Collett

Trip To The Tower.

Ingrid sat next to you
on the school hired coach
to the Tower of London
sun poured

through the window
making you feel hotter
and Ingrid
who usually smelt

of dampness
smelt of oranges
fresh peeled
her usual well worn

raincoat and cardigan
were gone
and she was clothed
in a creamy blouse

and green skirt
and off white socks
and plimsolls
(her shoes in

the shoe smith
being mended
she had said)
and you in a grey

open neck shirt
and grey flannel
short trousers
(no jeans

the teacher said
the day before)
and once all the kids
were aboard

and the teachers
had counted heads
the coach took off
and the talking erupted

and voices filled the air
and laughter and chatter
and you looked by Ingrid
at the passing view

she looked out too
her hair you noticed
washed and combed
and on her lap

in a bag
her packed lunch
and she held
the bag tightly

and you noticed
her fingers
the nails bitten
but the ink stains gone

and she turned
and said how excited
she was and that
she'd never been

to the Tower before
and that her dad had said
she wouldn't have gone
if her mother hadn't paid

and moaning
about the cost
and don't we have enough
to pay what with

one thing and another
and she lowered
her voice
and whispered

that her dad had hit her
for wanting to go
and her mother too
for interfering

and she pulled up
her skirt and showed you
a bruise on her thigh
then she looked away

and was silent
and you thought
that if you saw him
you'd have pop him

one with your cap gun
(symbolic of course)
then she turned
and said not

to tell anyone
and you said
you wouldn't
and she smiled

and squeezed your hand
and you hoped
none of the boys about
saw her hand

but you were glad
she had and you felt
kind of grown up
with a girlfriend

of your own
like those in the films
you'd seen where
the cowboy gets his girl

in those usual boring bits
you tended to hate
but there again
you and she were

just good friends
and only eight.

Submitted: Sunday, August 04, 2013
Edited: Thursday, August 29, 2013

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