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Take control.

20 Sep


Try a cocktail.

19 Sep


17 Sep

She liked to dry the dishes twice, once straight out of the dishwater, and again before putting them away. She was polishing really, not just drying them. There was something steady and reassuring about doing it that way.

After breakfast Andy liked to watch her from the table, while he smoked. Sometimes he asked her, “What are you thinking about?”

“Oh, this and that” she would say, without turning. To be truthful she wasn’t thinking about anything at all. Neither this nor that.


Hold your breath.

15 Sep

She never gave up. When her head slipped below the surface, she reached…and  a strong hand gripped her wrist.

When waiting for salvation, try to remain calm.

Stay home.

14 Sep

The hotel was lovely, but there was still something about the ceiling height that made her uneasy. Even in the luxury suite she felt the lowness of them. The ever-so-slight money saving, space cramping meanness of them.

If she sat very still, and focused very hard she could see her house. Her home with its comfortable sofas, windows that opened to the jasmine outside, and generous, lofty ceilings.


Never look back.

13 Sep

Sea baths. More like shock therapy than a bath…nothing warm or bath-like about it. It did the trick though, in the early morning . The only good thing about it was the double-shot macchiato afterwards in the car. Now that he wasn’t dropping the kids at school he could drive straight to work in peace, no chat. He wondered how they were coping without him.

This living like a batchelor caper sure wasn’t what it was cracked up to be.

Eat lunch.

12 Sep

How would he tell the head of orchestra? Leaving the school tuba on the tram was pretty easy really, as easy as leaving his laptop.

Yesterday he’d left late, he was hungry and just wanted to get home to eat. He didn’t even notice the tuba was gone until this morning before school. Probably not a good idea to mention his blazer was gone too. It may still turn up and there was no point in stressing mum.

Do an honest day’s work.

10 Sep

This was it, the bare-knuckle fight of the century. After it was done, he would go home and take a bath while his mum cooked him a hot tea. Fight the good fight, Gypsy Joe.

Look up.

7 Sep

Ernie was home on shore-leave before redeployment…it was his idea. “Get up there” he said, “you haven’t lived until you’ve done it.” She had to admit the view was spectacular once she found her balance. A full moon hung in a clear sky and stars glimmered in the distance. Not a breath of wind blew.

Dad’s viewing platform was unfinished. His plan was to bring his telescope up to stargaze on clear nights, and that never happened. Now she was surprised to realise she felt closer to him up here than in the years since he died.

“Hello Dad.”

“Did you say something?” Ernie’s voice floated up from below.

 “IT’S ME, BETTY”, she was sitting now, looking up.

“I know who it is”, his face appeared now over the gutter. “Move over”, he sat down and lit a cigarette.

“Dust off the telescope, big brother.  It’s gonna be you, me, Dad and the universe.”



There are no free holidays.

6 Sep

The holiday was interminable. She cared little that it was warm every day and the air blew sweet across the gardens of the Villa Valentino… her thoughts were far away. August, please pass quickly so that I might see him again.

“THERE you are dear” her aunt looked flushed, “I’ve been searching for you. We’re all for a game of Bocce while it’s still light. Do be a sport.” She frowned and adjusted her large straw hat.

“I really would prefer not. It’s hot and I have a headache.”

“It’s such a shame you’re not making more of our trip. I’ve seen guests I recognise from the Tattler.”  She moved briskly to the steps,  “It’s as if we are in the pages of an exotic novel.”

No sound now but the solidly determined steps of her aunt’s day shoes, and the faint laughter of others in the distance.