SPICED LATTE

I hadn’t written too much about myself online. However, minutes into our first meeting, I opened up like a ripped bean bag. I talked about mother’s health, second wife issues, Alan’s problems at school, my attempts to find employment, debts and the unfortunate fight with the neighbour. Clare had listened[…]

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RENAMED

This morning, she addressed me by the wrong name. She called me Paul. That was her husband’s name. We were sitting in the garden, admiring the results of the work we’d put into our rockery. I don’t think she noticed her mistake and I certainly wasn’t going to tell her.[…]

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LOST FOR WORDS

She is multilingual and uses this superb talent appropriately. Talking to her father, she converses in her mother tongue. In grand restaurants she orders expensive wines in fluent French. On sun bleached beaches, Spanish will be spoken. Perfectly accented Italian resonates through designer stores in New York. Even Latin echoes[…]

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MOVING HOME

Mum moved into a care home yesterday. She doesn’t care and it isn’t home. The family visitors will be greeted as strangers. Long term friends, who have their own long term issues, will send her cards that she will find hard to open and impossible to read. But tonight, after[…]

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WORDS COUNT

Alan cut out the article and clipped it to the pile. Craig, twenty-seven lines. One line for every three years of life. This unsettled Alan; upset him. Craig had led a narrow life, which had been padded out to 374 words by the anonymous obituary writer. Since Mary had died,[…]

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THE MAGICIAN’S PROP

‘The Magic Purse.’ That’s what my mum used to call it. The opening and closing brought me either happiness or despair. Notes, that appeared from secret, hidden compartments were transformed into ice creams and new shoes. I remember that sometimes, without trickery or sleight of hand, mum would display the[…]

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BEAR HUG

Eleven bears, dangling by eleven freshly cleaned ears, dance in perfectly choreographed formation. Twenty one eyes catch the lowering sun, blindly looking for their owner. He’s inside, upstairs in his bedroom, playing with his old collection of Zerby Derby vehicles. One final car chase, before he parks them in the[…]

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SWEAR BOX

‘You swear too much.’ That’s what my son said, rattling his homemade swear box in front of me. ‘Pound a word. It will all go to a good cause.’ Then he slammed the front room door. Extra loudly. The house shook. I swore at him. Twice. Cost me two quid.[…]

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LIFE SAVING

It started when he dropped a coin into an unused ashtray. Later, silver was deliberately separated and stored in pleasantly smelling tobacco tins. Now, on his ‘saving for a rainy day’ mission, notes from the weekly pension are hidden between pages of books no one will ever touch. His future[…]

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IT’S TIME

Father never allows me to cut with his scythe. Despite the blisters on his weathered hands and his old, aching body, ‘no’ is always the answer. Today, as he stops to rest his tired limbs, I ask him once more. He runs his thumb over the sharp, shiny blade, strokes[…]

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