Saturday, 27 June 2015

Hide and Seek by Tim Roberts

The slam of the letterbox followed by the slap of an envelope landing on the tiles in the hall. The delivery is too aggressive for it to be our regular postman. There’s no name or address; just a small piece of sellotape sealing it. I pick at it with my thumbnail and when it opens a picture of you slides out. You are 22 years old and look exactly like your mother; those same intense brown eyes.

I stand the picture on the mantlepiece beside the only other one I have of you.  It was taken at the tennis courts just after your 5th birthday. Do you remember? I would hit the ball and you could never return it. You would hit the ball and it would never reach me. In the end we gave up and played our favourite game: hide and seek.

That’s what we were playing the last time I saw you. You ran behind the nearest tree. I waited for you tiny voice to shout, I’m ready. Each time you hid, you chose a tree that was further away, determined to beat me. Each time, your shouts became less audible until I could no longer hear them over the wind that crept through the leaves.

They reopened your case, last week. They say the picture is what you would look like now and it will appear on national TV, because somebody out there might know where you are hiding.

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