Some lies and a little truth

The last part of my journey to work involves a short walk through a small but beautifully kept park. Apart from the ubiquitous gravel paths, pretty flower beds and scattered iron and wood benches this park has a feature found less and less these days – a Victorian bandstand. This particular bandstand has been lovingly renovated. It has been painted in rich hues of red, green and white. On those hot, dusty days of high summer the bandstand would host a variety of bands, from greasy-sleeved, provincial brass to the gleaming regimental splendour. But today, partly because it was just before eight in the morning and otherwise that it was the end of March, there was no band. In fact there was no one other than me in the park as I made my way towards the wrought-iron gates that marked the boundary between a pleasant stroll and nine hours of penury. Coming alongside the bandstand something caught my eye; no not something but a feeling of movement. Hardly perceptible to begin with, the bandstand began to rotate but soon enough it was quite obviously spinning. Gentle laughter filled the damp and misty air and the faint shadows of children clinging to the bandstand railings began to solidify before me. The children’s legs rose higher and higher as the bandstand gathered speed, like so many chair-o-planes. The laughter turned to screams, piercing the previously tranquil atmosphere. First one, then several small bodies were flung from the now furiously spinning bandstand, radiating outwards like dark vapour trails. I realised that my shoe-lace had come undone and bent to re-tie it. As my head dipped, a shocking void of silence hit me. Nothing now but the early morning peace of a small town park. A woman in red patent heels coming through the gates towards me struggled to walk on the gravel.

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