Maple leaves over water.

An autumn day all red, gold, and yellow leaves sprinkling the pavement like discarded newspaper sheets. The days truncated by the low winter sun.

A happy whistle, a jaunty stride, the bustle of London enwrapping his senses. Taxi’s and buses and cyclists and people are melting into one. Like an orchestra’s warm-up, the sounds of the city fill his head with the anticipation of the masterpiece to come. He lets the instruments sing in his head, building, building towards a crescendo. His stride lengthens with the whistle of his tune, left, right, left, right, left, splosh! His shoe and sock are sodden by a hidden puddle lurking under the thin maple leaves. Left, squelch, left, squelch. What to do? Nothing for it, but to front it out. Charge straight at the enemy, keep them front and centre. That’s what they would have said in the regiment. Don’t let them see you blink. ‘Straight and true’, as Sgt Major Mills would have put it. Left, squelch, left squelch. Keep your head up and your stride undimmed. Ahead the oak trimmed shop, all neat and smart, the precise wooden shoes drawers, exactly as used since before the war.

“Mr Batholemew? How wonderful to finally meet you.” Says the grinning shoe shop manager. “Come into my office. First day nerves?” This last at the slightly pained expression, which has climbed slowly from his sodden right foot, and finally achieved the summit of his face.

“Something like that, Sir, yes. I have this very morning come to realise the value of quality footwear.”



--

259 w.


To write a story about a character going to a meeting, where something foreshadows how the meeting will go on his/her journey there.


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