The Road To Hell #writephoto #flashfiction

Roger Penstick didn’t begrudge helping his old friend. It had been hard watching him slip into that cloudy state where the absent-minded forgetfulness that meant you couldn’t remember where your car keys were became the tormented senility that meant you could no longer remember what they were for.

At nine every morning he let himself into the small cottage Arthur called home and met his friend in the kitchen. The carers had already been, made sure he was dressed and fed and left him in his comfy chair for Roger and their morning’s constitutional.

‘Where shall we go today, mate?’ he asked, hopeful of getting some sort of reply. Occasionally he was offered a smile, sometimes a ‘Lovely sun,’ or ‘Where’s Madge?’ his long deceased wife. It mattered not. Not these days. It was all about giving him those fragments of pleasure he could still access.

Arthur didn’t really cope with walking far, not these days, but he seemed happy enough to settle into the wheelchair provided by the Surgery. Roger manouevred the ‘beast’ through the narrow door and onto the path before encouraging Arthur to sit down and be tucked in.

Roger wasn’t that young himself and the short, steep incline wasn’t as easy as it used to be. By the time he’d reached the ornamental gates he was red in the face and short of breath. Sometimes he would mutter to himself, cursing the placement of the Peace Gardens that Millennium money had funded. He couldn’t deny how well it had settled to be part of village life, how established the roses and lavender borders now appeared.

But were he being honest he would have preferred a walk into the Village itself, not this way. They could have sat outside the shop, chatted with those going about their morning affairs; maybe slipped into the Coach Inn for a coffee. There were several pluses to taking that route, not least that it was flat.

He chided himself with this uncharitable thought. The effort was worth it for the enjoyment Arthur got. He clearly loved it here. And it probably kept Roger fitter than the pub would.

They entered the gates and already Roger could feel his friend sit up. Someone told him those whose minds were closing in sometimes found memories in other senses; in song or, in this case, scent. The fragrance of the early roses was replaced by the saturated delights of the lavender.

‘Pretty amazing, isn’t it?’ he offered as he wheeled the chair so it brushed against the overhanging pendulums of blossom. He saw his friend’s shoulders heave, aware a tear would be forming on his lids, his nose begin to run.

What memory was it that he now accessed with such a deep passion? Whatever it was, Roger was pleased to bring even a moment’s joy while he still could.

And Arthur? What would he have said if he could? How would he have explained the tears?

‘Bloody hay-fever.’

Prompted by Sue Vincent’s writephoto which this week is

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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36 Responses to The Road To Hell #writephoto #flashfiction

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    Delicately told, Geoff… but good intentions..?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 😀 You and D.! 😀

    You were doing so well, Geoff; almost Hallmark TV series, there. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hayfever indeed!

    Like

  4. willowdot21 says:

    Oh Geoff you almost had me then ! You have a mean line in last lines!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. George says:

    Brilliant bathos, beautifully told.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you channeled your old dad there 🙂 Nice one!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JT Twissel says:

    Nicely done Geoff! Smell is definitely a trigger for many memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. LOL. Enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Excuse me sir. I believe you just dropped that wet blanket on the path.
    Yes, I’m pretty sure.
    I was having a lovely time until . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ellenbest24 says:

    The honesty we would all prefer to be a lie. Those thoughts that are just out of reach … until. A sound, a smell or a taste brings them into reach; blasted sensory garden and its pollen. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ellenbest24 says:

    I hope they reminded him of a beautiful moment … tears of love and pollen of course 🤣😃

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Nice story and photo! Got me to thinking…I think it was _Angela’s Ashes_ where I read someone excused his tears as his “bladder being too close to his eyes”–and that’s generally the excuse I use when I tear up unaccountably.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: The Road To Hell ~ Geoff Le Pard #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  14. Violet Lentz says:

    That was excellent. So tenderly written

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well done. And the last line made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Photo prompt round-up: Fragrant #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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