The Jigsaw Floor – chapter three

There are two things you should, at this point, probably know about Harper and Anders.

Many years ago, before the jigsaw floor, but after the bombs fell, Harper had got on a train with young woman. The trains were infrequent and unreliable in those days. This was a train from one place to another, where none of the stops were guaranteed. It was a very long journey.

You should know that Harper loved the woman.

‘What is he like?’ she asked him.
‘Who?’ Harper said.
‘Your friend.’
‘Oh. You’ll like him. He’s a lady’s man.’
‘Like you?’ she asked.
‘No,’ Harper said. ‘He has morals.’

You should know that Anders also loved this woman, although he did not meet her until a number of months after that train journey.

The woman, when pressed, said she could not decide between the two, and in fact refused to do so. She got on a train and left. Left both of them.

You should know that Harper never intended on speaking to Anders again. You should also know that Anders would have been happy to die without ever seeing Harper again.

But when two old men meet.
On a jigsaw floor.
Almost any sin can be forgiven.

‘Just tell me what you see, you old bastard fool,’ Anders said. ‘Or I swear I won’t speak to you for another forty years.’

But Harper couldn’t speak. He was choking back tears.

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David Baillie is a freelance writer and artist. Born almost thirty years ago in Scotland, he now lives and works in the East End of London.

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