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The Neighbour

‘Darling, there’s a girl sitting on our lawn.’

He went out. There she was; nine, perhaps ten, pigtails, party frock, pink ankle socks, shiny black sandals.

‘Can I help you?’ he said.

Not a flicker. Then a bustling woman, forcing her way through the fledgling privet.

‘I’m so sorry. Come on Charlotte!’

As they left, Charlotte dropped a tiny, crumpled note. He smoothed it out and read… Help Me.

Fifty years later she was there again; crew cut, bomber jacket. He sat in his wheelchair.

‘You never came,’ she said.

‘I’m so sorry.’ He returned the note. ‘Forgive me.’

She couldn’t.



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