The Apple Room

Short stories

“Listen,” Brian said, “Fleetwood Mac, ‘Albatross’, do you remember this?”

He turned up the volume.

The spacey ambience of the music enveloped us in the dark confines of the car. The regular, hypnotic thrumming, reminiscent of waves surging up the seashore, cast my mind back to the Apple Room long ago.

The Apple Room was directly above the public bar in my grandfather’s village pub. In it was stored the produce from two magnificent hoary apple trees, which gave the room an overpowering pungent aroma. And it was my room when I visited.

The pub was the centre of the community, and the pub patrons were nearly all regulars, there each night for a drink, a yarn, and some fun. I would lie awake listening to the rowdy hubbub in the bar below. The shouting when someone scored a bullseye; the shouting when someone bought the next round. The bar door crashing, glasses clinking, and bottles clanking.

That night “Lily the Pink”, “Delilah” and “Jumping Jack Flash” thumped out from the jukebox, accompanied by a rousing chorus.

But then, “Albatross” played, like a soothing balm. I lay listening, mesmerised, the chattering voices fading away to a whisper in deep velvety black space. The rhythmic pulsing bass caressing and rocking me.

Those voices are like ghosts now. I wonder where they are. I suppose many will have grown old, died or, like me, moved away. Together once, sharing my grandfather’s welcoming hospitality. Our society doesn’t seem to share fun so much these days. When did we start living our separate “too busy” lives?

“Yes, I do remember this one,” I said to Brian. I could smell those apples now.