A Forgotten Pocket


Against the back wall of the house, three different lawn mowers stood propped in a row, as if relaxing after a lifetime’s labour on the lawn, now overgrown with spring weeds.

This house has always seemed more of a landscape than a building to me, standing as it does on boundless margins; the field in front merging into the marsh and the wetland merging into the river and the sea beyond it. Now the house felt fragile, as if the weeds only needed to grow a margin higher for the red brick to dissolve into them and the peeling windows to become a part of the view. On the sea horizon, beyond the open-ended garden, the ruins of old pill boxes seemed to sketch the future of the house, remains of strong walls. 

Hugh was sitting on the steps by the kitchen door and raised an empty wine glass as I rounded the corner. Behind him, a plum tree had burst into extravagant flower, every arm drooping with the weight of white blossom. They drifted around in one of those lazy, local winds, a couple of them catching in Hugh’s hair and beard. He motioned and I followed him inside, still transfixed by the tree’s blossom. It was abundant but overstretched. I felt I could already see a more familiar face, flowerless with black branches in the coming winter.