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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 3, September 2016
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Patricia Prime
Auckland, New Zealand


Victoriana

My friend’s house was in a row of Victorian mansions, containing three storeys, an attic and a cellar. Her parents let out many of their rooms to foreign students and nurses from the local hospital. There was always an eclectic mix of people in the house from various parts of the world and over the years we made friends with German, Swiss, Australian and New Zealand girls and boys, who were in England to study or work.

"Evening in Paris"—
trailing her perfume
the student nurse
speaks English to us
with a strong accent

A party was held in the drawing room for my 20th birthday and among the invited guests were some lads from the rugby club celebrating their last match of the year. One of them put a record on the player and invited me to dance. After dancing for a while we sat on the couch and he draped his arm casually over my shoulder. We immediately struck up a friendship. We just hit it off. We never questioned it. It was a natural thing that just happened. We discovered that we had a lot in common: we both liked jazz, films, books and sport.

At the end of the evening, he offered to walk my friend and I to the bus stop where we were going to catch the last bus home. There are moments in life when you pause and ask yourself is this really a good idea? But he seemed kind, had a good sense of humour and told me his parents lived in the same area as mine. It was freezing and he gave me his duffle coat to wear. As it was so cold we stopped at a vending machine near the shops to buy soup and had a chuckle when only hot water came out!

As we boarded the bus, he gave me a parting kiss and promised to phone me the following day. A promise he kept.

on our first date we met
by the statue of Queen Victoria
at a busy intersection
sprinkled with snowflakes
and swept by cold winds

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