The Box with the Closed Lid
At ten thirty on Sunday morning the doorbell rang and I knew who it would be. It was always the same person every Sunday morning at ten thirty: my daughter, Joanne.
“Hello,” she said, wrapped up in a big unshapely fleece with a woollen scarf. She walked past me down the corridor into the kitchen where she knew her mother would be sitting, waiting, at the kitchen table with biscuits that Joanne never ate. It was the same table that was there throughout her childhood, just with a different table cloth.
We sat there making small talk like strangers, not like a family who had lived in this house for years. Joanne had moved out when she was sixteen. Like all girls do, I suppose. I’d wanted her to stay longer, of course, but she’d met a boy at school and they ran away together. First to Edinburgh, then Aberdeen and finally to Dublin.
“Mum, how are you?” Joanne said, sipping a cup of coffee.
“Fine, dear, fine.”
“What have you been up to lately?”
Sylvia stirred another cube of sugar into her coffee. “Nothing much dear.”
“Does…do you and…do you get out much?”
“No, dear, but I don’t mind. I’ve got the television and my knitting. Bertie goes and gets me new wool every week and does all the shopping for me.”
When they were in Ireland Joanne married the boy she ran off with. Dan. They had no guests present apart from two strangers they’d met in a pub the night before and asked to be witnesses. Broke her mother’s heart it did, and mine. She was always my special girl. Dan’s mum had a stroke a few years ago, so they moved back here. They’ve now got two little girls of their own, but I hardly ever see them. Sometimes I come home from shopping and Sylvia tells me Joanne’s been round with the girls. It’s like she waits for me to leave before she brings them over. We’ve stopped going to Dan and Joanne’s place as it’s always cold there.
“How are the girls?” I asked.
She whipped her head round and stared at me for five whole seconds before answering. “They’re fine. They’re with Dan.”
“Of course they are,” I replied.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing. Just that I never see them.”
“And why do you think that is?”
If I dug deep enough I knew what she was saying, but I didn’t. I kept the lid to that box in my brain firmly closed.
No flash fiction last week because I was on holiday. I went to Cambodia and it was amazing. If you ever get a chance to go, please do so. The people are fantastic; friendly, open, warm and the sights, as you can imagine, are breathtaking.
This week's flash fiction was an attempt at an unreliable narrator. Let me know if it works for you.
Just about everyone has been through a break-up, but it's how you deal with it that counts. Read on for Opportunity Knocks.
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
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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.