Brian Fowler has written this short story, prompted by a competition on Radio 2 for children to write a story with no more than 500 words:
The Final Word
It was Saturday; again. There was never a reason to smile on Saturday. He awoke always with an immediate feeling of disappointment.
Monday to Friday had a purpose, not always good, but at least a reason to catch the train or head to the shops for the week’s essentials. Sunday was not necessarily a day of rest but taking it easy on Sunday was still an acceptable plan to be achieved, perhaps even savoured.
Saturday, the day, was too full of other people going to too many places in too much of a hurry and wherever possible places and people to be avoided. It was Saturday evening though that left a feeling of almost anxiety, an evening when for so many it was a time for anticipation, preparation, the excitement of going somewhere special with someone special.
It had not been like that for him for so long that it was well nigh impossible to recall the excitement of a night at the theatre or a favourite restaurant. Saturday evenings now were evenings of seclusion and television programmes that were designed with the knowledge that there were few people at home to watch them: Except people like him.
Surely this Saturday needn’t be the same and if it was to be then what of all the other Saturday’s to come. He was not old: He might reasonably be described as middle-aged and while it was not likely that he would be considered athletic he felt that he looked okay; walked with a jaunty step and, most days, with a smile not too far below the surface.
Perhaps that was what he needed to get him out of this slough of despondency. Not depressed no, but with a feeling that this could not be another wasted evening. The weather was fine and warm and he knew the river would be at its most enticing at this time of the year; so that’s the plan, a walk by the river. Into town, take the steps by the bridge and go where the towpath will take me.
Why not make it a special occasion. On the return journey stop off at the wine bar in the high street and enjoy watching those other people enjoying themselves. Why not?
It would take a bit more effort if the walk was to have an objective and a wine bar would surely demand a clean shirt and, against all the usual Saturday tradition, a shave too. Go for broke; shower time.
Strange how such a simple plan lifted him as he took time in selecting what he considered the best shirt which required the best trousers and jacket and a fresh shine on his shoes.
The jaunty step? Oh yes that came too and one or two he passed seemed to notice his self-satisfaction and smiled as he went on his way.
He turned the corner approached the church hall and he saw it; the banner over the door – Tango.