IN MR ATKINSON’S ROOM.

You saw Judy on the south wing of the old folks nursing home near to Mr Atkinson’s room carrying towels in her arms I need to speak to you you said what about? she asked you playfully bundled her into Bob Atkinson’s room (he was either in the lounge or out down town hobbling along for small items of shopping or at the second-hand book shop looking for boy’s annuals of yesteryear which he read from cover to cover before cutting out the pictures and sticking them in albums) what are you doing?

she said what if Bob comes in? he won’t he’s out you said but what if he does? she whispered well unless I was rogering you to kingdom come I don’t think he’d mind you said pressing her 5’5’’ body against the door and looking into her grey blue eyes she gazed into your eyes and said what do you need to talk to me about? I think I’m in love with you you said she sighed that’s the umpteen time you’ve told me that she said she dropped the towels

on Bob’s bed and put her arms around your waist and drew you closer you moved your left hand around her back and your right hand on her buttocks and said that’s because it’s umpteen times worse or better depending how you look at it she kissed you on the lips and you sensed her tongue touch yours her eyes closed and you closed yours the room becoming a far away place her perfume blending into the air about you the ticktock of Bob’s old clock on the bedside table like some metronome setting the pace as if it was all part

of some song or some deep aspect of a Bruckner symphony she pushed you away and said it’s nearly break time and people will wonder why we’re not there and put one and one together ok you said removing your hand from her butt the warmth still there her eyes still captured in your inner self thank you for the Chagall postcard I’ve put it on my bedside table along with that photo you gave me of you got to go she said and opened the door and walked off down the passage

you looked around Bob’s room at the ticking clock and the blue candlewick cover and the picture of some boy cut out of some old annual chasing a dog over a field and Judy’s lips and tongue seemed still to be there in your mouth and her hand enfolding your waist and back and Peter in the pants going all slack.

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