Mrs Mathews is Afraid of Cricket Bats.
Copyright 2011 Steven Pirie
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All characters and situations in this work are fictional.
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Mrs Mathews is Afraid of Cricket Bats
Nowadays, there’s always the rumble of Lancaster bombers in Mrs Mathews’s head. If she closes her eyes, she thinks she sees them lined up on the base runway, fully-fuelled and bomb-loaded, their brave boys all aviators’ waves as they pass her by. She sees hours of dark, empty skies until they limp home; trailing smoke and fire across the dawn, their airmen slumped forward in their seats. Sometimes, when the dawn is greyest, they don’t come back at all, and then she’s afraid the rumble is not of Lancasters at all but that of ghosts in her head.
Mrs Mathews tugs her earlobe briskly left and right. ‘It sounds like the ocean crashing on the shore,’ she says.
She grows warm on the neck when she lies, but it’s best not to mention Lancaster bombers to Mr Mathews; best not to bring back the war; best not to risk Mr Mathews pulling down the ornamental cricket bat from the wall in his anger. That’s what perforated Mrs Mathews’s eardrum the first time around.