An Accidental Meeting

 June Swain was cycling when she heard the choking scream of the Spitfire as it lost height. She watched the plane slash into the woods on the hill, snapping the conifers like twigs. Then her bicycle hit the verge and she found herself in the ditch.

June worked as a land girl and she shared supper most evenings with Farmer Ogg and his wife Janet.

The farmer said quietly: “The pilot must be dead, poor sod.” But his wife said she’d heard he’d been taken to Warham Hospital. June couldn’t help wondering about this unknown man.

A week later, on her day off, she took a train and found the hospital. The receptionist asked her who she was visiting.

“The man who crashed in the woods.”

“Him? He needs a visit. You’re the first.”

In the corner of the ward a man seemed to dangle over a bed. Two legs and an arm, encased in plaster, hung from pulleys. He turned his head and June saw a stitched-up scar which ran from the corner of his mouth north to his cheekbone, in an absurd and permanent smile.

She thought he looked like a string puppet tangled at the bottom of a toy box, and she’d like to untangle him. She wondered if he could speak.

“Hello,” he said, puzzled. “You lost, love?” It was a voice from somewhere in the north.


“I wasn’t lost any more,” the old lady, June Swain, was telling the care assistant. “He may have crashed into my life and knocked me off my bike, but he found me, all right. And he never let me go. Seventy years ago.”

by David Jay


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Jester & King by Salia Jansen

Waiting to meet Dylan Thomas

Interview with Mary-Jane Holmes, of Fish Publishing