Dear Mr Miles
Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year.
P.S. I saw you in Tesco.
He reads the card and he wonders where.
By the toilet rolls, perhaps.
He hates to think it was by the toilet rolls.
Would a child dare miss the chance to say that they’d seen “sir” by the toilet rolls?
(He never used “sir”. He wasn’t worth a “sir”.
He was plain “Mr Miles” to them,
Which was more than he deserved to be.)
No, he doesn’t think she’d seen him by the toilet rolls.
Or heard him call them “bog rolls”, which he’d have done,
If he hadn’t been alone.
If he had been trying to be funny.
Like he did on the rare occasions he was in company.
But “Mr Miles” had to be alone that time in Tesco,
Because she’d have said if he was in company.
More cognitive dissonance there.
That he could possibly have anyone in his life other than the class.
Perhaps he’d been buying the dinner for one, then?
The microwave lasagne or the – shame on shame –
The delicatessen cold meats
He’d eat in his flat, wrapped round a sausage roll,
Because that was as close to a banquet as it ever got.
Apart from that one time.
Perhaps he’d been getting the Buy-One-Get-One-Free deodorant
To go with the reduced flowers
He’d have taken out with him, that Friday night,
To earn a trip to Tesco as a couple one day,
Which he had done precisely one day,
Which he’d feared that kid must have seen
When she’d written, “I saw you in Tesco.”
But, thank God, she hadn’t seen him at all.
Mr Miles puts the card to one side, smiles, offers the girl a sweet.
And then turns to the next card in the pile
As the classroom Christmas music plays.
To Mr Mills
Merrie Xmas and a Hapy New Year.
P.S. My mum rekons you look hot in your disco gear.
Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Safe and Sound Press. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains unproduced but available to interested producers!