Whatever Happened To Alison?
Sometimes the past drifts back. Places, people and sepia snippets of life. You know how it is. Something stirs my subconscious like an eddy of air through mist. A scent resurrects a memory. Pipe smoke or the scent of Pears soap. Or a sound. The distant hoot of a diesel train. A storm bird. Today it’s the glimpse of a young girl with long red hair. My mind winds back like a tape recorder.
It’s summer. England. Blackbirds warble in the hedgerows and dogs bark at the postman. Alison and I sit astride a tall brick wall, an imaginary pony between our long, skinny legs. We giggle and snort sherbet down our noses. Powder fountains into the air like snow. Alison’s red hair is warm in the soft sunlight. She is my Ann Of Green Gables. My bosom pal.
One day they come to me and ask me strange things. About Alison. Did she have a secret? A friend? Had I seen a stranger? A man?
I shake my head. “No,” I say. And I am bemused.
Alison’s parents buy her a real pony. I look out for her and wait. But we don’t play anymore. And I move far away.
The decades roll by and my hair is streaked by frost. Many things are forgotten. But I never stop wondering - whatever happened to Alison?
Alison, are you out there?