Monday, 10 June 2013

Teatimes At The Empire Cafe, Hastings (1)

December 1955 

Even although she pulled her coat in as tight as she could, the snow and sleet coming off the Channel still managed to make her shiver. She’d stop in at the Empire Café for a reviving cup of tea, she decided. It’s not as if Mother was in any danger; at least she could wait another fifteen minutes for her prescription medicines.

She managed to have so little time to herself these days. It hadn’t meant to be this way. By now, she should have been living out on some farm in Western Australia with the love of her life. Except he had never returned - like so many others - and after father died of pneumonia, her mother had deteriorated so quickly that it had caught her unawares.

She was destined to being her mother’s nurse until the end.

When she had finished her tea and cake, she noticed that the snow had stopped and that the sun was fighting to come through. A little hope, she thought, and she caught herself smiling as she stepped out into the afternoon. 

July 1930 

The Empire Café was still there thank goodness. He’d come here with his grandparents before the Great War, and it was always a place of happiness to him. Today, all the bright young things were occupying the promenade with their energy and laughter and the rest of the world could go hang, as far as they were concerned.

He had been young once, too. A very long time ago when Victorian values had ruled on things such as smiling and laughter; they had been frowned upon and were always kept behind closed doors.

He was jealous of the young, they had it so much easier - and as he sat in the Empire nursing his tea, he wished that this was his time and that he was nineteen again.

He was startled by a very pretty girl, high on champagne, who knocked on the large glass window and waved to those inside. They did all they could not to catch her eye, not in disapproval, but knowing if they looked up they’d wish it was them who were out there that day.

bobby stevenson 2013 
thoughtcontrol ltd

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