A giant flag draped behind the nation’s leaders. A faded flag hanging limply in an antique shop in a small town. A book of ensigns on a shelf next to tea sets and cracked crockery, medals and vinyl records and gas masks.
A woman standing proudly in front of a house. A family on the beach. An old motor car. The car of a man and woman. The house and family of a man and woman. A woman standing proudly in an old photograph in a tatty album, on a dusty shelf, forgotten beside the flags, in an antiques shop.
They fell into the light of the streets from behind the flag and the window logos the smell of roasted coffee beans never to be smelled again with outstretched arms like elated and some fast some slow and some hobbling some skipping like no one could remember how to walk faces all contorted like expressing anything had been forgotten in the long hours when everything everything outside had been cancelled and the brave and the scared all looked at each other or were afraid to look and the ones who tried to text for help and those who got… out…
Christ but there’s too many flags about, he said, sittin back down and slidin three pints across the table. Too much wavin from balconies, fly-pasts and old codgers grumblin bout the way they suffered. Christ, I mean. He sniffed.
Look at you man, the guy’s friend said, sweepin his fringe from his eyes. I mean your jeans, that shirt. Out of touch.
Oh don’t start.
I’m not startin. It’s just, you know, you’re old. Everyone’s lovin all that these days. Nostalgia. Fashion.
Yeah, why not? You’re suppin ale, everyone’s eatin cupcakes.
Tory fuckin cupcakes?
They both laughed.