Frank arranges to meet Bob

at the Library: Local Studies
where old men read newspapers
look at books about Pits and Shipyards
remembering the old days.
Bob greets him with a handshake,
they sit on easy chairs;
he has a briefcase,
pulls out an old newspaper cutting
hands it to Frank who reads the headline:
Man Arrested for Indecency in Leazes Park Convenience.

Frank looks up, Bob says:
You asked what happened to your Grandad.
There’s your explanation.
It caused quite a stir;
the Police were criticised for Incitement
but that made no difference
to your Nan. To her it was wrong.
Full stop. So Patrick left the North East
and never came back.
Frank reddens up the neck:
Was he…a pervert, a ..paedophile?
No, just unlucky. A homosexual
in a marriage, torn in two
because neither could be reconciled.
It wasn’t uncommon then
I don’t think it’s all that rare now.
What was Grandad like?
A funny man – good company
he loved his kids, but never could
be happy with your Nan.
Frankie hesitates, then asks:
Did he ever write to you?
Bob shakes his head and sighs:
We were very close friends at one time,
but he cut all ties when he left England.
You can keep that article;
I’m glad you telephoned. Good luck.
He shakes Frankie’s hand
walks off without looking back.

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