When I saw him lope by I was wrapped in scarf and woollen overcoat, sitting at my usual table outside the cheerily lit street café, sipping coffee and reading. I folded my paper, sat back and watched as he found those he was looking for at the farthest table: the table past which well lit and cheery café bonhomie faded into inky darkness.

 

He wore black, an antithesis to ragged white blond hair that badly needed cutting. His coterie looked upon him adoringly as he took his place, and as I pictured the impossible he spoke and wiped the smiles off their faces: as one they turned to stare at the newly risen moon before hesitantly resuming their ribaldry.

 

Bottles later, he glanced in my direction and winked. Teal green eyes over young blood red lips that seemed to offer the world and so much more - and hand in hand I'd take him to the tower, and we'd mosey up the dusty stairs debating the future of our world and its problems before putting them to rights: before entering the room at the top and …. I was uncomfortably aroused as I snapped back to reality …

 

… and blinked. Christ! Was I sad ….

 

Brittle laughter floated over the endless gulf between us and wrapped itself around my body: an additional arcane layer against the chill and soulless north wind he’d brought with him.

 

A crash and tinkle of broken glass marked their exit. I watched him grinning, cavorting, leading the table, like the pied piper, into whatever sort of mischief he had planned - and mischief, I knew without a doubt, was indeed what he had planned for those gloriously unfortunate miscreants.

 

Into the darkness they gambolled as a lone tear feting ‘could have beens’ rolled down my cheek.

 


 

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