I still remember Uncle Charlie. He is dead now, just over ten years. He was not our real uncle, which always confused me. I guess sometimes people use family labels to simplify relationships for the sake of the children. Charlie did that.
He lived across the road from our house. He would make an effort to come over and play with my sister Lizzy and I whenever our parents went out. He would bring cans of fizzy drinks, crisps and chocolate. He would not stay long, maybe half an hour, but he said that was time enough for fun, and that as an adult he had responsibilities.
He always made us play “musical chairs”, but with just the one seat occupied by uncle Charlie. The music would play and me and my sister circle him like predators. He would stop the music and we would fight over who got to mount his lap. First to five was the winner. My sister always won.
Her prize was to go upstairs with him and play a special game, a game only winners were allowed to enter. As the loser, I would be shut in the garage where I would stare at the solitary bare bulb in the ceiling, until I went blind to my surroundings.
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Their game did not last long. He would soon return downstairs and let me out. He would ruffle my hair and say goodbye, promising I would win next time. I never did. After he had gone my sister would stay in her room until Mum and Dad got back, while I watched cartoons on the television.
I remember the police cars outside his house. My dad broke the news to us that he had died. I was sad. Also angry at my sister for not being as upset.
Last week something strange happened, but I am certain, I saw Uncle Charlie in the supermarket.I must remember to tell Lizzy.