Last night I thought I heard the gate creek, back and forth. It had been like this since you left.
Then I heard footsteps, just like yours: powerful, assured and purposeful with every step. Left right, left right, left right. The crunch on the gravel path got louder with every step; you must have still got your boots on I thought.
I could hear the tune of a song we always used to sing before you left, I recognised the whistle, it was yours just like your commanding voice when you speak. I remember when you told me Papa: that you once won a cup for the best trumpet player, when you were just a junior, and now you have the strongest whistle can be.
A key turned and the door slid open meant that you had not forgotten under the small gnome I left a key ready for your arrival home at any time.
A voice called up the stairs, ‘Is any body home? I am back, it’s me Papa!’ Each call becoming more urgent from inside, as I ran into mama’s bedroom and shook her vigorously shouting, ‘Quick, Papas home. Hurry up!’ I rushed out and clambered down the stairs repeating myself saying, ‘I’m coming Papa, I’m coming…’
At the bottom of the stairs, I was greeted by only the silence of the night. With my heart in my throat, and my body crammed with disappointment and sadness, I collapsed onto the botted step. My eyes welled with tears as Mama slowly stepped a step at a time down the stairs. She sat and we both wept waiting for you to come home, back to us.
As I slept that night, I was sure the tune you whistled was ‘I’ll Be With You In An Apple Blossom Time’ or could it have been our all time favourite ‘We’ll Meet Again Don’t Know Where, Don’t know When, But I Know We’ll Meet Again Some Sunny Day….’
So then Papa, God bless you and stay safe. It will be apple blossom time soon. Look after yourself till we meet again…
I love you Papa and I miss you!
Tommy and Mama XXXXXX
Written by Edie Street, Year 8
School – Bishop Rawstorne C of E Academy, Highfield Road, Croston, Leyland, Preston, Lancashire, PR26 9HH
Teacher contact details – firstname.lastname@example.org