It was the days of my youth. My morning sweet and happy. It was end of my days at
school and boy hood farewell. I was now a man ready to join my first employ as an apprenticed joiner with the long standing form of Downey and son in Scatter Green yard
I was seen off by my dear mother who was waving to me all the way to the gate. She had wished me luck and was happy for me that day ,my first as a waged earner. a bread winner eager to learn and earn.
I wandered with my lunch bag on my shoulder and had taken the faster route that took me between houses close enough to hide the day light. Old brick and timber dwellings from ages past. Cobbled lane took me down the hill towards Saint Marys church.Its great iron gates announcing holy ground but then I saw her. Not noticed until that moment. I was paced about 20 feet off her but in that black hooded dress she had not been so obvious. Her head slowly turned to me and as struck by lightening it hit me.The sheer brightness of her face her sad down cast eyes ,the reddest of lips against a white china skin. I moved my lips to speak but nothing came out. She was so beautiful so dainty and so worried .Her eyes lifted, bright dark, they captivated me.
Nearby me a dog barked, I turned and she vanished, when I looked back to her. The great tall gates firmly locked on inspection gave no clue as to where she had gone. I heard the church clock strike the hour and I ran as not to be late on my first day.
Over that day I learned how to sharpen chisel blades .My learned instructor was the foreman George Pattison from over at Greenwich village not a mile from our house. I did not know him but his family and mine had dealt cattle for over two centuries. He was a mellow sort and once shown I set in to do my best with old chisels to sharpen to his satisfaction. Over the week not much happened only chisels and blades oh! and tea making was added to my job title.
I was on my way home and took on purpose that same route hoping to see the girl again.Weeks went by I had my first exam at work on blades. Boss was at the door of his car as I sneaked behind him onto the factory floor. My desk laid out by George who winked at me as I put on my overalls and stood ready as Mister Downey himself shook my hand and instructed my to commence.
That day was long I recall but I must have passed the test as next day I was moved on to timber cutting. Big saw and jig to length mark I was given.
I had much on my mind and there at church gates, she stood, hood down her raven black hair moved by the wind. It had snowed during the day and I noticed she had left not a single foot print. The chill wind had blown all all away. The face turned ,her eyes held mine but she was gone from sight away from my reach.
By now only the church yard she could have entered as the gate had stood open I walked in but no one was there. The church door bolted from within. It was cold in that yard a chill thin wind of winters blast held sway, and no place to loiter as my mystery beauty had confused me once more I set upon my way rather vexed with myself for taking my eyes of this speedy girl and her tricks.
Time rushed by I was now 23 and top man in Downey and Sons works. I never ever saw her again no matter how many times I had waited at that old church gates. I did so wait.
Not until another five years had flown by and I stood with pride as boss with a good income and Downeys son my own good friend. We had together journeyed to London as representing Downeys at the Industry stand on the show ground. Products of fine furnishings on display and orders and sales in full. So well had we done that it was decided to stay over night and work next day on stand. It was not to start until midday being last day of show. I was alone in the big city and at the London Tate gallery. Happy just to stroll around and observe the paintings as a hour of freedom. On display was a painting of a woman in old Georgian dress. Then it was not her fine silks but her face that stopped me in my tracks.
I was drawn to that frame like a moth to the flame. Her face so beautiful her smile so perfect I knew her so well .It was her, I know it and joy filled my heart for the sight of her.
Below that work of art, on a brass plate, inscribed the name, lady Sarah Barrett Moulton 22nd March 1783- 23rd April 1795. painted by Lawrence from life. Lady known as Pinky by her family.
I stood in disbelief and perhaps deep sadness. I had seen a ghost I had been so captivated I had not thought it so. Then I remembered she left no tread in the snow. My mind still holds her face, her bright dark eyes, her black and glossy hair, her sheer presence that had me spell bound, but she was dead long before my time. She, the sweetest vision I have ever seen. I can only wait for her as I am convinced she wanted me. What is time, a man made clock no more than that. Time is a myth at least she taught me that. In dreams I still see her as old as I am, she is mine I tell myself. So lonely are the years that pass so perfect her smile.
Yours Sir Kevin.
Copyright Kevin Parr Bt 2019.