• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 02
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A Quiet Game Of Bowls

He remembers a bowling green. The flat plane of grass stretched out before him, and seemingly endless.

He had hefted the ball - black and smooth as a polished piano key - into the cup of his palm, and then, on bended knee had rolled. The release, like the upwash of a wave flowing to the shore, then sucking back to sea.

Then nothing.

Or perhaps he heard Veronica gasp. He can’t be sure. She’s been so fragile lately. A gasp, her response to each of life’s events these days. And whether it’s surprise or shock, he really cannot say.

Though the sound of a wave as it rushes the shore sounds the same. A gasp. A frothing release of air. A call and response.
There was a dignity of sorts to it, he supposed. The element of surprise certainly appealed. The way it cracked open all the ordinariness of the day.

Toast and marmalade for breakfast. Tea the colour of the Amazon. The pips of a plastic clock as it counted out the hours. Ten o’clock. Ten o’clock. Ten o’clock.

Some rhythms seem eternal. They lull you into contentment. Veronica knew this, of course. Hence the gasps.

She has breathed in this moment for years. Every sigh a preparation.

Though she had imagined a different scenario. The kitchen table, covered with red and white gingham. The chink of a spoon on a jam jar. The pop of the toaster and the splash of milk in a teacup. Looking up and whispering, ‘George? George, are you okay?’


A Quiet Game Of Bowls

Not an unpretty scene, he thinks. She means well, but it lacks imagination.

His own vision had always been tempestuous. A roar into a howling wind. A chiaroscuro of light and dark, elemental and contrived.

It was only as he felt the weight of the ball in his hands that he understood the absurdity of such heroic visions.

No, surely it was always meant to be this way?

A quiet summer day, filled with the sound of polite murmuring, and scented with rosehip. The smooth green of a manicured lawn and the hollow thud of lignum vitae on grass.

And then, a gasp.