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Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

Part 39

Today was the day that Mr Twist would be leaving the hospital in order to convalesce back at the school. The bullet wound in his shoulder was healing well and he was confident that he could cope back at his rooms with a small amount of help. Plus, his youngest sister had written to him and would be arriving in a weeks’ time to pick him up and take him back to the family home in Norfolk for an extended holiday. Mr Davies, the Headmaster, helped Charles to pack his belongings and carried his case out to the car. Mr Davies took it steady on the drive back to the school, partly so as not to jolt his passenger, but also to ensure that everything would be in place for Mr Twist’s return.

The car turned off the main road and made its way down the long drive to the school. Mr Twist couldn’t believe his eyes. Both sides of the driveway were lined with the staff and pupils from the school. Boys waving union flags, cheering, and calling out his name. “Twisty, Twisty, Twisty”, all of them removing their school caps in respect as he passed by them. The car drew up in front of the school and the Hallifield Brass Band struck up with a selection of songs popular in the Great War.  The cadaverous Walton Clegg was there with his baton, wafting it around in the air like an emaciated stick insect. Charles Twist was at a loss as to what was occurring before his eyes. By now, the car was surrounded by cheering boys, he turned to the Headmaster, “What is this, what’s going on?”. Mr Davies looked at him, “It’s for you, old friend, they all know”. “Know what?”, replied Charles. “What you did in France, during the war, they all know”.

Whilst sorting out some spare clothing and certain essentials for Mr Twist whilst he was in hospital, Mr Davies had found a number of citations for bravery along with Charles’s medals. The car door opened to allow Mr Twist to exit. Head Boy, Bradford Snr, held out a hand of support for Mr Twist. “Welcome home, Sir”, said Bradford, “let me get your case for you.” Still slightly bemused by all of this sudden attention, Charles made to retrieve his own case, but Bradford reached the handle first. “Please, Sir, let me, it will be an honour.” For the first time since the death of his younger brother, Charles started to well up inside. A tear formed in his eye as the Headmaster took Charles’s arm, in order to support him back to his rooms.

With the sound of the cheering and the brass band still ringing in his ears, Charles took the photograph of his brother, Robert, down from the mantlepiece, sat himself down in his armchair, held the photograph to his breast and silently wept.


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

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