Sophie’s Story by Robert Nisbet

It was unjust, I was sure, but the gossip was seething, and there’s always innuendo, there’s spite, and obviously something had gone seriously wrong. But I knew the lovely man he was and I knew how much it was hurting him. I said very little to anyone and he and I just met, quietly.

For all that cloud of shame, it had happened in spring and summer and the bluebells in those woods below Llangurig were so beautiful that year. It needed to be woods and lanes for us to meet but we had that countryside and ourselves for company and I was content with that.

When the autumn came and it was clear that he was innocent in the world’s eyes too, we used to go back to the bluebell wood from time to time. We’d watch them die back and mulch into the soil, ready for spring.

Robert Nisbet, a poet from Wales, whose work has appeared widely in Britain and frequently in the USA, was, in an earlier incarnation, a short story writer, whose stories appeared regularly in Wales in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.