[34] The Exception, Nigel Ford

The bench is empty. The river twirls past relentlessly. Rushes stand at attention, their busbies smartly rigid in the still air. It is a neutral time of morning. No one going. No one coming. Except for those two, approaching from opposite directions, who arrive at the bench simultaneously.

They nod to each other as if old friends and each sit at one end of the bench, both place elbows on the armrests, place their chins in the cup of their hands and stare dreamily at the river.

There is no life other than this of any importance.

Some minutes pass. The minutes mount up. The river twirls on and about.

Both people rise simultaneously, make a half-turn to face each other, nod formally, turn in opposite directions, and walk off purposefully back down the towpath to the places from which they had arrived.

When they are both out of sight of the bench a pigeon flutters down. It pokes about dispiritedly beneath the bench. Then, flies off quietly with a barely discernible flutter of wings.

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