The funeral was over

The funeral was over. She was gone. Col stood apart.

We are here for you, the strangers said, taking his hands. He blinked away more tears. Everyone was saying the same. We mourn for you. We feel for you. We are here for you.

The bright Halloween sun gave no warmth. The graveyard was shades of green, each darker than the other. Nearby, mourners. In the distance, crows.

Thank you, he said, and tried subtly to let go of their hands.

No Col, one said, their firm cool grip gently tightening. We are here for you.

His heart slowed. Together they walked away.

I fell in love with a Halloween pumpkin

I fell in love with a Halloween pumpkin;
its candle-like soul shone out through its eyes.
I stayed in love with my Halloween pumpkin;
although its head started to shrivel and dry.
I fell out of love with the Halloween pumpkin;
I had a new pal and his name was Guy.
But
I went back to my Halloween pumpkin;
because I can’t bear to see a grown squash cry.

The queue at the gate

The flight was already an hour late when the queue at the gate finally began to shuffle forward. I eyed the man in the heavy overcoat who, bishop-like, was trying to cut softly in front of me. As I shifted my weight onto my left foot the teenager on my right barged forward, eyes fixed on their phone. It was blatant obstruction, any referee would have called a foul. I stood up straighter and used my additional weight to block them. There. I inched forward, not lifting my feet from the floor. At the gate I had my passport and my boarding card ready and beamed triumphantly.

‘Your carry-on, sir? Where is your carry-on?’

A chill ran through me and I turned round in the crowd. The dog was sitting , eyes fixed on the suitcase. The man in the stab vest was looking our way.

‘I don’t have any’, I said. ‘I don’t have any.’