More Than Expected

January 1931.

The boy in short pants rounded the corner, bounced off Mrs. Baddeley’s knees, and planted hard on his backside. Miraculously, he kept a grip on his football.

“Get up, you filthy guttersnipe.”

For a “pillar of the community,” Mrs. Baddeley produced an impressive howl. She battered the hapless Stanley with her umbrella as he scrambled to his feet. He raised his hands to protect his head and repeated apologies, clearly terrified.

Seven year-old Sarah recoiled from her aunt’s fury and watched the sport enthusiast fleeing for his very life.

“That one will never amount to anything,” her aunt predicted, scowling.

***

November 1946.

“It’s chucking elephants & giraffes,” Sarah declared, spreading her umbrella against the downpour. She stepped out of the news shop doorway with Mrs. Baddeley.

Turning, she found her elbows gripped by a young officer.

“Whups, hold up there, careful miss.” He prevented the head-on collision and released her gently.

“Thank you,” Sarah exclaimed, feeling her heart accelerate in something other than surprise. They exchanged radiant smiles and Stanley tipped his hat.

Mrs. Baddeley conspiratorially whispered as he walked away. “You run into a stranger and he’s a handsome war hero? Did you notice the D.F.C.?”

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Statue of Air Force pilot at Battle of Britain memorial in Capel le Ferne in the UK
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