Franklin was feeling love for the first time. It suddenly chanced upon him after 15 pints of beer in the Howden Arms. Through the poisoned haze, and cheap cigarette smoke, in walked the prettiest girl he had never seen.
Franklin had lost his sight at the age of 7.
One day he was riding his bike home behind a lorry stuffed with straw bales, and as it edged around the corner it flipped over to one side and crushed little Frankie’s Raleigh, whilst flickers of grains flew into his pupils at one hundred miles an hour. The crown of his ginger hair could be seen poking out from the mound of straw covering the roadside like an elaborate nest for the finest show horse in town.
He felt nothing, but lost vision from his eyes, and from then on in, became the blind tyrant who pissed in fireplaces. A whole life spent stumbling down the high street without the white stick, blind bareback riding, picking fights with imaginary hard men and winning every time.
He dreamt in twisted Technicolor, walking through glimmering blue seas, standing on tops of mountains, holding the hands and squeezing the peachy flesh of every girl he had ever smelled in the four walls of his local.
That evening he stumbled through the back door, about to order another fresh pint of Samuel Smith’s finest, when across the snug, walked a lady who crept up behind him and stroked his fuzzy fingers.
Frank stopped in his tracks; “I can smell your cheap perfume. You put it on about an hour ago to disguise the sweat from under your armpits”
“That’s no way too speak to a lady Frankie” said the voice, deep and seductively from deepest Doncaster.
“I don’t need no woman in my life. I’m a one horse man.”
“Not remember me, Frank?”
She blew a kiss into his ears and collar of shirt, clasped her handbag shut and walked out of the door.
Frank sat on the stool at the end of the brass railed bar, and stopped for a few moments to think.
Picking up his white stick from the stone floor, he tap-tap-tapped his way down the high street, chasing the scent, running over cobbles, manically trying to find his way home; where she would be sat, toasting on the bedside, in a satin gown, marabou slippers, and the finest lace from Victoria Quarter negligee merchants. He could feel the satin slip through his fingers, sending static tinges up to his elbows, dipping his head into her cotton wool groin. All these years he had waited. And she had come. At last. To touch him, to hold him, to smother him with petal kisses and rescue him from the darkness.
His bed-sit was cold and damp, with water pooling in the bases of the windowsills. In winter it would freeze up, the ice creeping up the inside of the glass, causing his toes to scrunch up and turn blue in the night. He slept under a damp blanket, but tonight it didn’t matter. Tonight he felt warm.
She stood in the corner of the room, and beckoned Frank to follow. He wandered out of the corridors, leaving the exits open, and without his stick, held her hand and chased her up to the riverside viaduct. Where they lay side by side, and gazed to the stars. They glimmered through his eternal black night, piercing the midnight haze with twinkles of silvery half light. She wrapped her gown around his back, as they jumped from 200ft to the murky waters down below; like goose down feathers floating effortlessly through the night sky.
Adelle Stripe © 2006.
Adelle Stripe is from Tadcaster in Yorkshire. She writes in her spare time for a self published East London fanzine ‘Straight From The Fridge’, and has also written for The Times amongst others. She hopes one day to write a book about rural life, and the dark underbelly of northern Britain.