Well, thanks to your lovely responses to my first piece of flash fiction last Friday, I’ve decided to continue the story. Here’s Part 2. I’ll be continuing to post each Friday until I feel its time to stop. Enjoy!
To read Part 1, click here.
“Hello!” came a bright female voice from the greenhouse in the far corner. “Is that Mr Roberts?”
A small lady in her early seventies approached, pulling off her muddy gardening gloves and stretching out a clean hand to mine.
“Pleasure to meet you,” she said, with a wide, warm smile, her lively blue eyes immediately holding mine.
“I’m sorry my wife couldn’t make it,” I explained. “She got a call from our younger daughter’s school saying she was unwell so she’s on her way over there now from work.”
“Not to worry, Mr Roberts, it’s not easy this modern parenting lark, is it? I don’t know how you young things manage!”
“It certainly isn’t. Please call me Marcus, its much less formal.”
“Of course. And you must call me Alice. Now do come on down to the terrace. I’ll put the kettle on and we can have tea outside. Such a lovely day!” she enthused. “I feel so alive when summer starts to show its face, don’t you?!” And with that she turned on her heels and led the way through the archway along the gravel path down to the terrace.
Having my offers of help refused, I obediently sat on the wooden garden chairs gathered around a similarly weathered wooden table whilst she pottered about in the kitchen. The sun’s rays pointed straight onto my face, causing me to reach for my sunglasses, close my eyes and tilt my head back in mild abandon.
A soft rattle of cups and the hum of the kettle reminded me of Sunday afternoons at my parents’ house on rare days when it was warm enough to sit out. A cat brushed itself against my legs.
“Here we are,” she announced, landing a tray with matching mugs and teapot on the wobbly table. As she poured the leaf tea through the silver strainer I wondered if Laura had drunk from the same.
Her hand shook almost imperceptibly. Age was clearly gathering pace on a woman who I guessed must have fought it rather successfully to this point. My father’s hand did this same, though he always denied it.
“It was brave of you to come,” she said, handing me a mug. “Biscuit?”
“Do you think? And, er, yes, that would be lovely,” I replied.
Sitting down, she took off her light cardigan and pushed her wavy silver grey hair behind her ears. I noticed a smudge of dirt on her left cheek.
“So,” she said, taking a deep gulp from her mug, “where do we start?”