Margaret began to regain consciousness. Surrounded by a group of onlookers, she started to blink back to life. A well dressed gentleman, wearing an Italian suit and grey trilby, had removed the trolley from her legs, repositioning her in a more comfortable position. Kneeling down, in front of her, he made sure she was OK, using a handkerchief to wipe her forehead. A young lad, who was part of the growing crowd, pushed his way through, ducking under the man's legs, producing a bottle of still water he had purchased from Tesco Express, over the other side of the road. ‘Here lady, take a drink, you’ll feel better alright!’ he said.
Gradually Marg lifted herself up, sitting cross legged on the side of the road, rubbing her bruised, battered and bleeding legs. “It’s OK, an ambulance will be here in a minute, they’ll take care of you, “ whispered the young boy in her ear. This wasn’t the news, Margaret wanted to hear. The last thing she needed, was a stay in Hospital and all the questions that came with it. Surrounded by people, it would be difficult for her to get away, especially with her legs throbbing. She decided to wait it out, hopefully they would just clean her up and let her go about her business. Looking downwards, the wounds looked rather superficial, nothing she hadn’t dealt with before. Breathing a sigh of relief, she took a gulp from the water bottle, so kindly given to her by her new friend.
“What’s your name youngen?” enquired Margaret, taking another sip of water.
“It’s Tom, Tommy Finch; I was just on my way to the park, to play football with my mates. I wanted to make sure you were OK?” he replied. Tommy had seen Marg walking up and down the road often, living in Dockside Mews, just round the corner from Tesco.
“I’ve seen you before Tommy,’ murmured Marg, “You live down the Mews don’t ya? The same house me and my old Ma used to live in, Ooo sixty or so years ago!” she continued
“That’s right Lady, number 64, next to Mrs Marsh; she’s been there a long time herself. Mum takes her in a bit of shopping now and again” answered Tommy, smiling at Margaret, wanting to help as best he could.
Mrs Marsh or rather Annie Marsh was about the same age as Margaret, they had grown up together as children, going to the same school, playing in the street and enjoying an idyllic if rather challenging childhood. Life was difficult sixty years ago; Margaret was an only child, looked after solely by her Mother, her Dad had passed away suddenly from a heart attack, when she was only four years old. Margaret's Dad was a drinker, who used to work in the Docks at the end of the Mews; when he could get work that is. She often went to bed hungry; Dad spending what little he had down the Queens Head, long since gone, turned into a block of exclusive apartments, a World away from Margaret's childhood.
“I remember Annie youngen; she was my friend, we used to play together as little girls. Her Mum used to look after us both, after school; me old Ma was working down the Co op laundry at the time, just after Da died. We needed the money youngen, things were very different back then,’ she explained.
Margaret winced, as pain shot up her right leg. “Just a little discomfort Tommy, it will soon pass.” she said, smiling sweetly at the boy. “You should get off, and play your game of footie, you don’t want to miss that do you?”
“Don’t worry about that Lady, I can play any old time. I’m going to run over to Mrs Marsh’s house and tell her you’re here. She’ll help, I know she will, shouted Tommy, as he turned his back, running over the other side of the road.
Before Margaret could speak, Tommy was gone shouting ‘I’ll be back,’ in his wake. Margaret wasn’t entirely comfortable seeing Annie again. Despite their past together, there was history there, difficult times, buried deep for many years. These were not recollections she wanted to face, especially now; she had to get away quickly, Annie would not be happy to see her, this was not a time for a reunion.