The walk to Charlton Park is a short, pleasant one. In my powerchair using the quickest route I’ve found, it takes less than thirty minutes. I go there every so often, but this morning on Twitter I saw that the Old Cottage Coffee Shop – the Cafe in the Park – is going to reopen tomorrow, so I thought I’d head that way again today, to see what was going on. And sure enough, there were Rudy and Mimi, preparing the place for reopening, albeit take-away only.
It then occurred to me that they might not know that Lyn had passed away. I decided to go say hi and ask how they were. I spoke to Mimi, who offered me a coffee. It turned out that they had been told about Lyn, a month or so ago.
Things are slowly returning to normal: businesses, like that sweet little coffee shop where everyone knows everyone else, will, sooner or later, be buzzing with customers again. I think I will still go there every so often, but it won’t be the same – nothing will be. The person who introduced me to this area I now know so well and which I now see as home, is no longer here. It feels like an intrinsic part of the landscape is absent. All the afternoons I spent at that cafe, all the coffees I drank and conversations I had, Lyn was there too, or not that far away. I know now that she will never be there again, and to be honest that knowledge really is painful.