She needed to talk to someone – almost anyone. Was it to confess, she wondered, was she looking for some form of absolution? Certainly, she wanted to get it off her chest – preferably to someone who didn’t know her. Wasn’t that what vicars and priests were for? But she hadn’t been to a church since the grandchildren were baptised. In any case, she didn’t want some God-botherer trying to convert her to fear of eternal damnation.
She phoned Jim, her brother, older than her by four years, a retired car mechanic. She could always count on him for some common sense.
“Morning Charlie, I don’t often hear from you so early in a morning,” he said, “What can I do for you?”
In her mind, she could picture him – just from the sound of his voice: tall, broad, easy-going and with a ready smile. Even his slow, northern accent was soothing.
“Oh Jim,” she said, “I just want someone to talk to. Frank’s left me.”
“What do you mean left you?”
“We had a row yesterday. It was my fault I suppose, but it wasn’t just the row really. Things have been going downhill for a while.”
She went on to provide all the gory details of the reasons and repercussions.
“Well, you’ve surprised me now Sis’,” he said, “When you first told me he’d left you, I was ready to go after him and thump him.”
“I don’t think that would have been a helpful way to persuade him to want to be with me,” she said.
“No, of course not. And you are a finicky soul, aren’t you?” he said, “He was probably trying to help in his own way. Marjorie was a bit like you when I packed in work. Always shooing me out of the kitchen and telling me that I was getting under her feet, but we’re past that now. We’ve developed a team approach to things.”
“I wish that I’d been a bit more like Marjorie,” she said, “I don’t have a lot of patience.”
“Aye,” he said, “and the size of your kitchen doesn’t help. I can see how you could get in each other’s way. But that’s not enough reason to leave you.”
“Perhaps,” she said, “but it’s too late now. We had a good chat this morning and I do understand his reasons. Thanks for listening, love. How is Marjorie?”
“She’s standing next to me. Shall I put her on to you?”
Charlotte agreed, grateful to have another woman to speak to.
Later, she decided to go for a walk. She drove to a local beauty spot, found a bench to sit on and looked at the birds by and on the lake – flapping their wings as they took-off, and again when coming in to splash down, but also when squabbling. ‘Just like people,’ she thought. She watched the condensation trail of a plane flying high overhead. Almost as soon as it passed a point the trail was blown apart by the Jetstream as if forgotten.
“These next, final years aren’t a rehearsal, Charlie.”
‘How soon after I die will I be forgotten – no medal to my name as a soldier might? Maybe not even a headstone on a grave. Just ashes scattered somewhere like that condensation trail.’
Here’s another photo of Ted, my daughter’s Japanese Spitz dog, that I took while walking him on an area of reclaimed industrial land near where I live. The log pile has been lying there a while, cut down from diseased or broken trees perhaps.
I used my Pentax KP cropped sensor camera to take the photo using a 28-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 full-frame lens. The shutter speed was 1/60 secs @ f/8 and focal length 28 mm. The ISO was 100. The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic with additional editing in Topaz Denoise AI.