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Bill, Bingo and Bram 11

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aThere was an ironic fragment of truth in what the lady said.

The thing was, the dog only accepted Bill as a temporary companion - of course it did not understand the fact that Bill's brother was never coming home. It continued waiting for him. Waiting for the familiar footfall, waiting for the imminent(迫近的) return of a voice it knew and devotedly listened for. The dog regarded the present as a state of waiting. Its life was in a state of suspension - a kind of 'this will have to be got through until everything returns to the way it really should be'. Its pointless patience was matched only by its growing detachment from everything else.

I sat with Bill for a couple of hours, and I ran out of tape. It was among the last times I ever visited him in his house, having left home myself - returning to Stoke only at holidays.

I took Bill up on his offer of a cup of tea before I left. There was snow on the ground outside, and the temperatures had plunged. I was shown through into the kitchen cum living area in the rear of his house, and looked again at the collected bits and pieces of this man's life.

The old radio with its bakelite(胶木) casing and valves on a high shelf, the unsliced loaf on the table, the open fire, with a butter dish nearby and the photographs on the mantel.

Bill as a youngster,
Bill as a boy,
Bill's dog,
Bill's dog, lying in a dark yard, more than half a century ago. Lying near to a door. A narrow little yard.

"Typical of him, that was," Bill put in when he saw me looking at the picture again.
 
"Old Bram, he lay out there every day, come what ever the weather was, you know! He couldn't let go. Waited for Frank to come back. Waited until the day he died himself, that dog. He'd only move when I went and opened the back door, then he'd stroll in, and wait until he could go out and wait again."

Bill stood alongside me, and picked up the little frame. He looked down his nose at it.

"Do us a favour and pass us me glasses," Bill asked, "It'd take me half the day to get over there to get them. My bloody feet are no good to me these days, particularly in this weather."


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