Monday 8 November 2021



by Robin Wrigley

black coffee

‘’Scuse me mister.’ I turned and there was a young boy no more than seven or eight years old at a guess, he was looking up at me with expectation on his face. An immigrant by the looks of him. Of course, the international dress code of the young, trainers, jeans and hoodie told me nothing. Guessing again I would think of North African origin.

            Taking my earplug out, as I had been listening to a piece from Sibelius on Classic FM on my phone and was in a world of my own, far from this bus stop.

            ‘I’m sorry to disappoint you son but I never carry any money these days, so you’re out of luck.’ Hearing this his face didn’t show disappointment, he frowned and then the penny dropped, I think, and his small face broke out into a broad grin.

            ‘No Mister, I not asking for money. I want to ask if we were going to have a war?’

            ‘A what?’ I blustered hardly believing my ears.

            ‘A war, you know soldiers and men killing people. Last night we heard many loud bangs. My mum is very afraid and said we maybe have to go another country.’

            Of course, it was November the 6th. Last night was Bonfire Night, fireworks were going off all over the town. I shouldn’t have made fun of his concern, but I couldn’t help myself from having a small snigger. ‘No not a war, yesterday was November the 5th and every year on that day we celebrate Guy Fawkes night by lighting bonfires and letting off fireworks. Didn’t you see the firework displays?’

            ‘No mister, what is firework display and who is guy?’

            ‘You mean you didn’t look out of your windows and see them?’

            ‘No when we hear bangs my mum closed all the curtains and we sat on the floor just like we did back in Aleppo. If you are looking out of window, then maybe sniper kill you.’

            ‘How long have you lived here?’

            ‘I don’t know ‘cos I not very good with time but I think we came just before the summer started. I know it was very cold when we came in the small boat.’

            ‘Where do you live?’

            ‘Long way from here. I don’t know name, but it takes me long time to walk it.’

            ‘So how on earth do you know how to get home?’

            ‘Oh, I have good memory and know every road. My mum teach me to look for things to remember. I did get lost the first time and she was very worried, but she found me in a police shop.’

            ‘Well son, you get your way home before your mum gets worried again. You can tell her we are not going to have war. This was the way of British people having a party with big fires and fireworks. Next time look out of your window you will see lovely things in the sky.’

About the author 

Robin's short stories have appeared in CafeLit both on line and in print on a regular basis. He has also entered various writing competitions but has yet to get past being short listed.


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