“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to pay our respects to John; husband, father, grandfather and valued member of our society.” The vicar looked up from his bible. “Peter, his son, would like to say a few words.”
I watched my brother step forward and square his shoulders, taking on the new responsibility as head of the family. As he spoke he looked briefly at his son, who in turn was gazing up at him. Random thoughts of my father sprung to the forefront of my mind and I hastily wiped away a solitary tear. I scanned the faces of individuals and groups of people standing here in the cold and let my eyes linger slightly longer on the woman with the short grey bob and the long navy coat. She made eye contact with me and smiled briefly. Like she knew me, like she knew what I was going through. She couldn’t possibly, because I’ve never met her before. Or have I?
The vicar cleared his throat. “Thank you, Peter. Now let us take a moment to remember John.”
Everyone closed their eyes apart from me and my nephew. I smiled at him and his grin warmed my heart. I stared openly at the woman, but she was looking at the ground and a smile pulled at the corner of her lips, as if she was recalling many a fond memory. How dare she? I thought. She raised a blue handkerchief to dab her eyes, careful not to smudge her make-up, and quickly pushed the large cotton cloth back into her coat pocket. There was a familiarity about her, or that gesture, that I couldn’t place.
“Mrs. Ashcroft,” the vicar said. “Please.” He gestured to the mound of dirt by the gaping hole in the ground.
My mother had been holding my nephew’s hand, as if she could tap into his life force. She reluctantly let go. Taking a deep breath she knelt down and picked up a handful of mud in her leather-gloved hand. Throwing it on the coffin like it was poison, she stood up, removed her glove and pulled out a big blue handkerchief from her oversized handbag. She wiped both eyes with it and then folded it neatly before putting it back.
And then the familiarity hit me. I had met that woman before, but it was a long time ago. It was after school and Dad was playing with me. She was walking through the park, maybe taking a short-cut home from work, when she tripped and fell. My father rushed over to help her giving her one of his handkerchiefs to wipe her hands and knees. Had I seen her since? I really couldn’t say.
Has anyone ever had a good or bad experience with a fortune teller or tarot card reader? Personally I've only had good experiences, but last week's Flash Fortnightly was based on a story that a friend told me. Click here to see how it all ends for Carly and Hilary in Tarot Reading.
My short story for the latest Hong Kong Writers Circle anthology, A Lucky Coin, has been edited for the last time and is about to go to the typesetters. Printing should begin soon and the publication is planned for March. Also in March this year I'll be featured in IMPRINT, the annual anthology of Women in Publishing Society. The launch party will be on 15th March. I'll keep you posted!
A couple of weeks ago I set up a facebook author page and I've already had loads of 'likes'. If you haven't yet, I'd be very grateful if you could 'like' the page! Click here for Laura Besley Writer.
I've also stepped, rather gingerly, into the 21st century and have set up a twitter account! If you'd like to follow me, I can be found bumbling my way through this technology @laurabesley
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Flash Fiction is short enough to read whilst you're waiting for the kettle to boil. It's fairly quick to write too, but with it being so short, every word has to count.
On 4th May 2012 I decided to embark on a project: to write a piece of Flash Fiction every day. I'm hoping this will keep the creative juices flowing and ultimately help me hone my craft. Every Friday I'll be posting 'the best of the week' onto my blog for you to read. If you have anything to say (good or 'constructive'!), I'm open to comments.
Thanks, as always, for reading.