Thursday, January 15, 2009


I forget things now. My memory is going the way of my bladder these days. But I remember others, a lot more than people give me credit for. By people, I mean him. He’s taken to calling me dad instead of Frank, as if that ring on his finger makes him my blood. My Sarah tells him to leave me be. She always was a good girl that one. As pretty as her mother too.

Caroline. The wind still carries her laughter and the sand still holds her footprints. There, at the window of the old Macphearson café, she sits bobbing up and down as she plays peek-a-boo with Sarah. It’s called the Greyling Bay Café now, all fancied up. But I still see the checkered tablecloths and gleaming salt shakers. And I still see Caroline. There, down by the pier where the Browning children are throwing bread to the gulls, Caroline walks to meet me for a date to the picture house up the road.

Bill approaches, net in hand. I’ve never seen Bill without a net in his hand.

"Hey Frank, nice weather for it, eh?"

I’m not quite sure what "it" is or what sort of weather would be good for it so I just smile. Bill’s a good man. His wife used to be one of Caroline’s pupils and when she came to the funeral she was the only one who didn’t try to say anything stupid. She just held my hand for a bit then said, "This is horrible."

"Frank, mate, why don’t you come in a bit and sit on one of the benches? This old rock of yours can’t possibly be comfy. You get soaked to the bone every time there’s a wave."

But I like this rock. Caroline sits by my side, her head in the curve between my neck and shoulder and talks about how many more hours we’d have to put in at the university to afford a house on the waterfront. Turned out it was a lot. I smell her Pears soap when I sit on this rock. I tell Bill no, I’m fine where I am.

Bill is saving to buy a new boat, he thinks he’ll have it by next spring.

I may well not be around for that. I may have gone to be with my girl. But you’ll hear me, catch a glimpse of me sitting on this rock from time to time. Caroline, Greyling and me, we’re in the fibres of each other. We’re a trinity.

Anna Russell


Anonymous said...

Intriguing piece but I'm a bit confused. Is Bob the Net also Bob the Books from the earlier piece? (Mental picture of poor Bob, with his OCD, counting the holes in the net so the world doesn't fall apart!)

Anna Russell said...

Thanks for reading and commenting. No, it's a different Bob. I started writing it before the other Bob was published here. Sorry for the confusion!

Anna xxx

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see. As it's apparently a Welsh town maybe he should be Bob the Net after all?
It's interesting to read this blog from the beginning and see how the characters are gradually meshing together and the story unfolding.

Jane Smith said...

Anna, because of the Bob confusion which Anonymous has highlighted, I've renamed your Bob: he's now called Bill.

I'm assuming you're going to be happy with that, but if you want to object do let me know!

Peter Drobinski said...

Anna, this is a lovely piece. You've made me feel how strongly Frank is cemented to Greyling Bay, and have painted such a touching picture of his and Caroline's relationship, I find myself getting to the end and wanting to start from the beginning again!

Anna Russell said...

No Jane, not a problem at all - it saves any confusion!

Thank you so much Peter, what kind words.

Anna xxx

Anonymous said...

Hello Anna
I really loved this, it sent my imagination into overdrive! That dear old man with his rock and memories. Fantasic peace of writing, from a readers point of view.