LONDON. 1950S

INGRID'S PRETEND HOLIDAY.

Benedict took Ingrid
on the underground train
to Charing Cross station
(he having paid the fare

 

from his 2/6d
pocket money)
she anxious about the journey
the darkness underground

 

the bright stations
and the speed
of the train

and once outside

 

she put her hands
over her eyes
and off again

makes my eyes go funny

 

she said
does that to them
bit like coming out

of the cinema

 

after a long film
he said
she had on

a fading blue dress

 

black plimsolls
and whitish socks
they came to the edge

of the kerb

 

and he looked both ways
ought to cross up there
by the zebra crossing

but heck

 

one's got
live dangerously
sometimes

and he took her hand

 

and they ran across
the wide road
and she gripped

his hand tight

 

and her eyes were wide
and she looked
at the speeding traffic

taxis and buses

 

and cars and motorcycles
come on
he said

I'll show you where

 

my old man takes me
some Sundays
and so he walked her
along and into

 

Charing Cross Road
she still
gripping his hand tight
he talking about

 

the West End
and how sometimes
his old man lets him
go in the penny arcade

 

and on the machines
with their pinball machines
and other machines
where you can win back coins

 

and she listened
thinking about home
and her mother
nursing a bruised eye

 

after her father had hit her
in a fight last night
and how she herself
had hid under her blankets

 

in case he came
after her but he didn't
and this morning
he had gone off to work

 

and her big sister said
she was soon leaving home
with the greasy looking
bloke she was with

 

and her big brother
just sat there
stuffing himself
with Cornflakes

 

and sipping stewed tea
saying Ingrid looked
like some Belsen kid
and laughed

 

see that cinema
Benedict said
my old man takes me there
if a new film comes out

 

and he wants to see it
and he buys us 
ice creams or those
orange lollies you know

 

and she nodded
but she didn't
she seldom went
to the cinema

 

unless Benedict took her
and they walked by shops
and she looked in
the windows

 

and still griping his hand
she wondered how much
some of the dresses were
and the hats

 

just like her aunt wore
and then Benedict
took her
into Leicester Square

 

and into a milk bar
and ordered two glasses of milk
and biscuits from a jar
and they sat down

 

at a table by the window
and she viewed it all
wide eyed
sipping her milk

 

and nibbling her biscuit
and pretended
for that moment
that they were

 

on a special holiday
and could stay
at one of the big hotels
that Benedict

 

had shown her
and have breakfast in bed
and not have to worry
about her father's loud bellowing

 

or him coming
into her room
ill tempered wishing
to belt her one

 

or slap her backside
as she ran from the room
see that cinema?
Benedict said

 

pointing through the window 
my old man took me
there once and we saw
this famous actress

 

some one my old man liked
and Ingrid listened
taking it all in
watching him

 

his quiff of hair
and hazel eyes
and that smiling grin
and she looked out

 

to where he pointed
pushing away thoughts
of home
and her father's hand

 

and stare
pretending she
was on holiday
and didn't care.

View dadio's Full Portfolio