The damsel and the midnight stranger…

Some years ago, late one late Spring night, coming back from the pub in a mid-Wales village where he was staying, a man was startled when a soft voice called to him from the darkness.

It was a young woman, in a wheelchair, tucked away behind a garden wall, and separated from the world by a cruelly impassable step. They chatted for a while, with varying degrees of coherence, considering where he’d been. She was alone, she said, and she had MS. And no, there was no boyfriend.  Eventually, they both edged closer to the wall and their lips touched, tentatively, in the dew-laden dark. They held each other close, a chilly, gentle, midnight kiss, redolent of sorrow and lost opportunity. And they parted…

It was only the following morning, passing the house (or where he thought the house was – things looked different with sobriety and daylight), where there was no sign of her, he   thought how ineffably sad it was that a young woman can be so starved of  company, and sexual contact, that a snatched kiss from a passing, midnight, stranger was worthwhile.

And with that thought I turned my wheelchair around and headed for my car, thinking that it also applied, equally, to passing, midnight, strangers…

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