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Compliments, Cutlets and Candy

Compliments and Candy

a love story by Michael John Kelly

Chapter One



 Will you walk into my parlour


He had long since abandoned his pursuit of perfection. The cruel vagaries of life had taught John Joseph Ryan that perfection was merely an illusion. Like a rainbow,  a reflection in a stream, or a fluttering butterfly, it was tantalisingly there, right before your eyes, but somehow always  just out of reach. The harsh reality was that  there was always a flaw; there was invariably some tiny thing that was not quite right. He had slowly come to accept that near perfect was as good as it ever got.
That fateful morning in Bristol was a prime example. It was April 11th, 1992, and all the ingredients were there for the making of a perfect day. The weather was fine and set fair; it was spring, and spring was his favourite time of the year; it was also Saturday, and Saturday was his favourite day of the week. But there was, of course, the imperfection. The blemish on that particular day  was the t…
Don't talk to me about relegation battles. My father came home from the war in November 1945. He was a complete stranger to me, having been away fighting the Germans and their submarines for almost 6 of the first 8 years of my life. I had been just a toddler when he had sailed off to war, and I had no memories of him.
 At first, our relationship was a difficult one, with both parties suspicious and jealous of one another, but Mums are shrewd, clever operators, and my mother was no exception to the rule.. She was soon busily building some bridges, and slowly but surely, Dad and I started to talk, like a father and son should do. We quickly discovered that we had one strong common bond...football.
There had been no professional football during my young life, but I was already football crazy. My vivid imagination had been fuelled by the hundreds of stories I had read in various newspapers; articles I had digested from the sepia coloured pages of old pre war books and magazines, and …