First Love
Ann Summerville

The market place bustled as it had six years ago. Bright cloth billowed from stalls, flies hovered around hanging meat. For me the 1920s had begun with a roar, a new bride and a new career. But I had needed to return, return to my first love.

I hadn't wanted to arouse curiosity but my white linen suit caused people to stare. I was out of place, unlike the time in 1914 when as a young man I had blended into the surroundings. I need to find myself I told my surprised parents as I packed a small bag and headed on my journey to seek inner peace. She had shown me that peace and I remembered gazing into those dark eyes and feeling at home.

Then came the telegram: Come home. Father dying.

Shaking my head I wondered what I was doing here? I had an empire to run, a factory, employees waiting for direction. From the familiar doorway I stared at the door now faded and chipped with varigated green paint. A flash of crimson caught my vision and I looked, beyond the trail of scarf hanging from the window, to the puzzled face. A small grubby hand gripped the linen on my white trousers. Those eyes familiar, but smaller, gazed up at me. We stared at each other. He gripped the trouser leg tighter, leaving behind greasy fingerprints. "Papa," he said as if he'd always known me. "Mama is waiting."

First published: November, 2007
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