15 Minute Write
“Uh, excuse me?”
Frank had conjured up enough courage, somehow, to speak to the guy who had made him double-take. He’d normally just walked on by, but something made him turn on his heels, the shock of recognition was too much to just ‘let go’
“I know you, right?”
The guy was young, the difference in their ages was likely to be at least fifty years. Frank knew when he had a quick look at him that he didn’t, first hand, know him - perhaps it was that he knew his parents or, damn it, grandparents. But there was something so inherently familiar about this lad in front of him that he couldn’t just let it go.
He was dressed casually, with an oversized jacket and jeans turned up at the ankle to reveal jaunty-coloured socks. His hair was shaved at the sides, longer on top, nose prominent. He only got a brief look at his face, which seemed chiselled yet with cheeks a little fleshy, that would turn jowly when he got older. Damn, how did he know him?
"Nah, don’t think so mate, sorry" The youngster turned his face away to go about his business, which seemed to be deciding what to eat from the various pop-up food shacks he was surrounded by. He had been brusque and dismissive, perhaps a touch tetchy.
Frank was puzzled. He should let it go and move on, get back home, he’d been out for a couple of hours and his feet were killing him, his hip was playing up, and he could feel the bacon butty he’d had in the café starting to disagree with him. The last thing he wanted was to be caught out. Still, this guy. Where had he seen him before?
He touched the guy on the shoulder which made him swing around to face Frank directly, a face-off as if they were two contenders at a weigh-in before a boxing match - and the mood had changed palpably. Frank could see that he was irritating this guy, and he guessed he’d have felt the same, at his age, if some old geezer was harassing him.
"I’m sorry - it’s just you are so bloody familiar, and it worries me that I'm starting to forget stuff, I just want to make sure I'm not going mad …"
"Look, mate, I don’t know you. And I’ve only just moved here, so unless you’re not from here, then there’s no way you’d know anyone I do"
He could sense the frustration, this guy had a short fuse and Frank knew all there was about having a foul temper and the one thing he knew was that he didn’t want to provoke it. Added to this, the youngster had a point - Frank had lived down here, in this city, since he got married fifty-odd years ago, if this guy had only just moved there’d be no way he’d know him or anyone he was friends with or related to.
"I’m sorry, just ignore me, I’m just some old confused grumpy bloke who has too much time on his hands, no hard feelings"
Frank reached out his hand and the young guy instinctively brought out his to connect, and the strangest thing, both hands wore the same signet ring on their pinkies, with a four-leafed clover, in silver, inlaid into a piece of jet on a gold band. Frank felt a shiver through his body.
As he raised his eyes to meet this youth’s face he instinctively knew he’d see a scar on the right brow, but he was wrong, not a scar but a deep, stitched fresh cut. Frank knew those stitches, whose scars would still be visible 50 years later, knew they were caused by the first argument a pair of newly-weds had had, a short temper causing the fight.
"Can I give you some advice, lad?", Frank felt desperate to impart some wisdom.
"Fuck off old man and leave me alone, what could you possibly have to offer me?"
Image: Bristol, 2023, Nikon d750
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