This short piece was inspired but the lovely 'white Jeffrey' I crossed paths with in Chipstead a few days ago...
The White Jeffrey
At the end of another long hike, Hira and Kas walked up the railway platform and towards the ticket machine looking forward to a well deserved evening meal back in London. As they approached they noticed an elderly Englishman on his phone smiling at them. He was wearing a fine tweed coat and a gentlemanly straw hat on his head and looked quite otherworldly. He offered a friendly nod of acknowledgement as they approached and they both smiled at him. Hira topped up her oyster at the machine as Kas waited. When she got back, the old man finished his phone conversation and turned to the girls.
'You look like you've been on quite the adventure!' he said as he looked down at Hira's and Kas' mud encrusted boots and clothes, fortunately Kas didn't look as dishevelled, despite getting jumped by several dogs with mud on their paws.
'We walked the Chipstead Downs. It was beautiful!' Hira said enthusiastically. 'We even spotted a few wild rabbits!'
'Ah it is beautiful- this countryside' he said gesturing to the green hills on either side of the quiet suburban station 'You know, I used to cycle across the South Downs when I was young.'
'Really? We go walking there quite often,' Kas said.
'Glorious landscapes. Mind you, the trips did take a lot out me, what with some of the hills being as steep as they are!'
'Oh I can imagine!'
'We should do that. We should cycle the downs.' Hira said to Kas, Kas nodded in agreement.
'Where are you girls coming from?'
'South London and East London' Kas said pointing to herself and then to her friend beside her.
'I'd love to live somewhere around here,' Hira said.
'Ah I think a lot of people would love to live here! Though I have to say I miss London. I moved down here from Kentish Town with my wife for a job.'
'Really?' Hira asked.
'Did you ever watch that programme The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.'
'Yeah of course!' Kas said surprised that the old gentleman had made reference to the cool sitcom.
'Well I'm the white Jeffrey,' he said earnestly 'I'm a butler!'
'Wow, seriously?' Hira said in awe.
'I work for a nice chap, he's very rich, older than me can you imagine!' he said gladly. As the three of them waited for the train to arrive, they got lost in conversation.
'...when you're young everyone looks different, everyone's going off in different directions and trying to make something out of their lives but then when you get old, when you get to my age, you end up in the same place and everyone looks the same. We all look the same!' the old man exclaimed.
'Hmm I never thought about it that way...' Hira said. Soon the direction of the conversation shifted.
'So you girls must be Muslim,' the man declared.
'Yup' Kas confirmed.
'It's a lovely religion, Islam' he said. Come again, Kas thought surprised.
'We don't get to hear that very often!' Hira added.
'Ah well, most people just believe what's in the media. They're ignorant really. You know I'm thinking of converting one day,' he said thoughtfully. 'Did you ever go to that mosque by Regents Park?'
'Central mosque? I got there quite often, almost every Friday' Kas said.
'I go there every now and again, for a curry. I remember the first time I went, I asked the young chap by the door if I could go in to the restaurant and he said you don't have to be a Muslim to eat here! The food was very tasty!'
'Good value too,' Kas added, 'I love that mosque, I always end up going for a long walk through the park and down the Grand Union Canal afterwards.'
'Great isn't it!' He then slipped out an antique time-piece from his jacket pocket. It was round and silver with a thin chain attached to it- the train would be arriving soon.
'Anyway I'll leave you both to plan your journey,' he said with one last smile 'It was nice to meet you!'
'It was really nice to meet you too!' the girls chorused, both a bit in awe of having met such an interesting fellow....