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New #GE2015fiction by Stuart Evers.

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(photo c/o Tony Flanagan)

A man tipped his hat on a Toxteth street; an old man, a seen-a-war man. Tipped it, not doffed it, and back I nodded, hatless. These the moments you remember. The glare May sun on your back, on your hatless crown. These the moments, few and fleeting. Stain them not with aftermath. Recall the glare May sun, and do not think of colder summers, autumn squalls, distempered winters. Just the sun. Cling to that, like a lover to a keepsake, a soldier to her rifle. Yes, to that I cling. The glare of the fleeting May sun, the shadows it later casts. For you, I cling to that.

Hope is pernicious, addictive as drink. I am a sot for it; tight with its highs. I have had it with hope; hope has not had it with me. I look at you, your boy-scuffed knees and running nose, and hope rises like sap, like the maw of a picture-book dragon. There is always hope. Every war always over by Christmas; every dog to have its day. Hope is the cruellest temptation.

I give up. I go on. I look at you. Through the shadows see the glare May sun. And then just the shadows. And then just the memory of the sun, on a Toxteth street, as a man tips his hat and my hatless self nods hopefully back. Just the sun. The sun on my back, on my hatless crown, and on yours; unknowing of hope, unknowing of shadows and of that glaring sun.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stuart Evers’ first collection of fiction Ten Stories About Smoking won the London Book Award in 2011 and his debut novel If This is Home was published to considerable acclaim by Picador in 2012. His fiction has appeared in the Sunday Times, Granta.com, The Best British Short Stories 2012 and 2014 and Prospect. His new collection of stories, Your Father Sends His Love, is published by Picador (May 2015).

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, May 8th, 2015.