Embers (2,400 words, 12 minutes)

This tale has its roots in an chance encounter.

We were on holiday in New Zealand. We stood high above Hastings, at a Viewpoint. A very elderly, dapper gentleman joined us.

As we chatted he revealed that he was originally from England, that he had emigrated to NZ as a £10 Pom in the 1950’s, travelling by boat. He found a girl, made a happy life, although there had been no children.

Two years earlier, after a long illness, his wife had died.

He had been lonely, cast adrift, and haunted by the thought of an old flame, a girl he had once loved but lost to another man, someone he knew well, a rival.

The idea that this lady might still be alive, and perhaps open to an approach, nagged and nagged. Eventually he had hopped on a plane and returned to Blighty, to search for her.

This lady, now a widow of many years, was living alone, her children scattered around the globe.

“Did you hit it off, after all those years?” my lips blurted, as they do.

“Oh Yes. And she decided to come back with me, for a holiday.”

“Did she like it?”

“Oh yes, I think so, she’s still here, that’s nine months now. She’s sitting in the car, just over there, having a snooze.”

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