Bobby

A soiled trouser leg
is tucked up beneath him, held down
by the weight of his ravaged body,
reminding me that I am one of the lucky ones
who have more than the average
quantity of legs.

His right foot
sits askew on the wheelchair’s footrest.
I straighten my back, as if to make up
for his crooked limb.

A paper bag
rests crumpled on his lap.
I think of fragrant Indian takeaways,
and of the free accompaniments my family receives
when we order a meal for all of us.

He grabs the bag with the eagerness of
a child on Christmas morning,
sliding down the banisters to join his parents
who grin beside a glittering tree,
eager to see his eyes lit by the thrilling surprise of a new bike
tied around with a wide blue ribbon.

He unscrews a cap and tips the bag
towards his cracked lips.

What lies in those years between
the glitter of a childhood Christmas,
and a brown paper bag concealing cheap white cider?
I want to ask, but it is too intimate a question,
so I just say “Hi, Bobby,” and walk on by,
the stench of a life gone sour
clutching at my stomach.

Grateful for the small attention,
he cries “Merry Christmas,”
in a ho ho ho voice like Santa.
Even those without hope follow protocol
at this time of year.

He doesn’t knew my name.
I am just one of those who have been kind
in the smallest way.

I expect I posted The Fairytale of New York last Christmas, and it’s likely I’ll post it every year until I expire. I make no apology for constantly advertising my favourite Christmas song ever 🙂

©Jane Paterson Basil

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29 thoughts on “Bobby

            1. Ha! I’m easily offended when it comes to this song. The whole world claimed it, and not everyone realised it was Leonard’s.
              You know how, when you go over to YouTube, you end up checking out stuff you’ve never heard before? I found one for you. I don’t know how appropriate it is, as it brings up questions about faith, and it’s a ghastly genre, but I listened to the lyrics and decided to risk sending the link.
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6L0zIz3eoM&w=640&h=390

              Like

                1. Maybe it’s better to leave it that way/.I kinda regretted sending you the link, since I don’t really think it’s your kind of song any more than it is mine, but it was posted by a guy whose daughter died last Christmas, and he said he found it comforting.

                  Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Raili. We’re all set for the best Christmas in many years. I can relax with my two older daughters and my Grandchildren, knowing that my younger two are safe and happy. It’s an incredible feeling. May your holiday be as wonderful as mine is set to be. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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