TIMES HAVE CHANGED

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


Susie is stuck inside the house because of snow. Feeling reflective she ponders on her life, which seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. When her Grand-daughter arrives and proceeds to spend
time hunched over her phone, Susie takes the situation in a surprising direction.


 

TIMES HAVE CHANGED

There was a time when Susie would have been excited to see the snow falling in dense, fat flakes, covering the ground with a glorious, sparkling white blanket. She remembered clearly, as if it were only yesterday, the thrill… the fun of sledging down the rolling hills with her friends, their cheeks flushed with excitement, the biting chill in the air. She looked out of the window and groaned, although those memories were a life-time ago, on reflection, it seemed just the blink of an eye.

She placed a mug of hot tea on a side table, her mood wistful. Her eyes were drawn to the family photos that adorned the walls of her cosy sitting room. Ray, her husband, grinning into the camera, while scooping sand into a bucket… Jon and Louise, their two young children in the background, posing beside a half built sand-castle. It had been five years since Ray’s death, she recalled with disbelief… how she still missed him. Images of her grand-children as little ones, now all lively teenagers, only added to her melancholy.

The shrill, tone of the telephone interrupted her reverie. “Oh, hi Lou love. Yes, I’m fine.”

“Well I could do with some bread, milk and maybe some soup. Oh, and that cake I like and perhaps some slices of lean, Yorkshire ham… but don’t venture out in this weather just for me.”

“Only if you’re sure. Drive carefully. Love you.”

Come on, snap out of it old girl. It’s because you’re stuck in the here, she told herself.

Susie still had a busy social life… she enjoyed her weekly clubs and keep fit class at the local community centre, and today was the day she normally went to the Cinema in town with her friend Anne, where they enjoyed films at special concessionary rates, that included tea and biscuits.

Feeling fed up and trapped, she plumped up the cushions on the sofa, ran a duster over the furniture, washed up the dishes in the sink then loaded the washing machine. Afterwards, she settled herself down in a comfortable armchair and reached for her book.

***************

At the sound of the door-bell, Susie opened the front door to find Livvy, her Grand-daughter standing there with a loaded bag of shopping in each hand, her face largely concealed by a woolly scarf and a pom-pom hat pulled down over her ears.

“Hi Gran,” she said cheerily, kicking off snow covered boots in the porch. “School’s shut because of snow, so Mum asked me to bring these over for you.” She headed straight for the kitchen and dumped the bags down on the counter.

“Oh Livvy, that’s so good of you. I feel awful you having to walk in the snow carrying those heavy bags just for me.”

Livvy kissed her Grand-mother on the cheek. “No probs Gran, I’m starving. What have you got?”

Susie smiled. “You go and sit down while make us a sandwich.”

When she walked back into the sitting room carrying a tray of food, Livvy was already curled up in an armchair, her head bent over her phone. “Here you are honey,” she said, proffering a plate containing thick chunks of fresh crusty bread filled with ham and salad.

 “Ooh Gran, you’re a star.” Livvy said, returning to her vigil.

“How’s the revision going Liv?”

Susie waited patiently for a response, but Livvy’s head only lifted to take a bite of her sandwich.

“Liv, did you hear me.”

“What?”

“I asked how the revision’s going, it’s an important year for you.”

“Good,” she muttered, without lifting her eyes.

Susie finished her lunch, washed her plate and mug then tidied up the kitchen before going back into the sitting room.

Although Livvy hadn’t moved, she had managed to devour her sandwich and drain her mug.

“Livvy, don’t you ever talk to people, other than on social media.”

She lifted her dark eyes and ran her fingers impatiently through her curls. “Gran, you don’t understand, times have changed.”

“Too right they have. When I was a girl, if we needed to make a phone call, we had to walk to the nearest red telephone box, which was about a mile away from our house. Sometimes there were a queue of people waiting outside for their turn, often in appalling weather conditions, like today.” Susie noted the sudden interest in Livvy’s eyes.

“Really.”

“Oh yes, and that’s not all. When I was about your age, I made a discovery in that telephone box that would haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Livvy’s mouth dropped. “No. So what happened, Gran?

“I can’t tell you Liv, it… it’s too distressing.”

“Please Gran, you can confide in me.”

“Only if you promise not to tell you’re Mum.”

Livvy swallowed hard. “I promise.”

“It was on a snowy day like today. I had been out most of the day sledging with my friends, when we decided to head home before it got dark. After going our separate ways, as I passed the telephone booth, out of the corner of my eye I saw something on the floor inside. I stopped, opened the door and found a round wicker shopping basket, the sort that had a handle arched over the top, from one side to the other. Something told me to take a closer look, so I peered inside to find it stuffed with newspaper. Intrigued, I began to empty the contents, throwing the newspaper on the floor… that’s when I made a discovery. Initially I thought it was a doll, but when I touched it, I realised it was a tiny, new born baby which had been dumped in there in the freezing cold to die.”

“Oh, Gran. That’s awful, what did you do.”

“Actually, I did nothing. That’s because it’s not true. But at least I had your undivided attention for ten minutes, instead of looking at the top of your head all the time.”

“Gran! You are naughty, you should write a book.”

 

 


Submitted: March 03, 2018

© Copyright 2022 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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Comments

hullabaloo22

Ha! Well, if she could get ten minutes of undivided attention that was some Herculean achievement! Nice one, Sue!

Sat, March 3rd, 2018 8:54pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for reading and commenting Hully. So pleased you enjoyed it.

Sat, March 3rd, 2018 1:39pm

KathrynAcacia

I literally choked on my tea laughing at this- guess Susie had my rapt attention too, haha! Your characters are always so colorful and believable- it really enhances the story. :)

Sun, March 4th, 2018 1:09am

Author
Reply

Thanks for your comment, pleased to know it worked!! This was exactly my intended reaction. When my grandson visits, this is what he does, it drives me mad. Oh,,and by the way, Susie is a fictional character, I might be a gran but I'm nothing like her at all!

Sun, March 4th, 2018 4:41am

jaylisbeth

What a delightful read, Sue! I love the humor in this story of yours. Excellent writing :)

Sun, March 4th, 2018 6:42pm

Author
Reply

Thanks JB. Its the way of the world,everyone hunched over mobile phones! So pleased you enjoyed it.

Sun, March 4th, 2018 12:18pm

Joy Shaw

Very nostalgic and cute. Just love your writing style, Sue! Agreed, I so wish kids these days wouldn’t be on their phones as much! I’m in a unique generation as I remember life without the internet and also with it. Maybe that ages me a bit. Lol!

Mon, April 23rd, 2018 8:28pm

Author
Reply

Thanks so much for such a positive comment, pleased you enjoyed it. I actually remember those red phone boxes, with their great big black telephones and buttons to press. I think that makes me positively antique!

Mon, April 23rd, 2018 1:38pm

Jeff Bezaire

A lovely story, Sue! I love hearing and reading about the past - the good old days, as it were. This was a wonderful trip back in time while staying very much in the present.
Your characterization is spot on! Livvy's dialogue reads so much like a teenager, and Susie's stir craziness and penchant for good storytelling are grand ways of capturing her age too. You also did a remarkable job of perfectly illustrating today's culture versus yesterday's culture.
This story has a warm feeling. I could imagine Susie's home clearly. There's a wonderful light to your words. Beautifully written. And being from North America, I love the British-ness of the story - certain phrases and choice of words; they're fantastic! It's an extra taste of culture I always enjoy from British writers.
A beautiful, warm story, Sue.

Tue, June 19th, 2018 7:51pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for reading, Jeff. So pleased you enjoyed it, your lovely comment is very much appreciated.

Tue, June 19th, 2018 2:18pm

Sharief Hendricks

Hahaha, good one Gran !!

You got her good and hopefully opened her eyes to the wonderful 'real' world around her...

Loved it Sue !

Tue, February 16th, 2021 9:36am

Author
Reply

Thanks for reading and commenting, Sharief, so greatly appreciated! I'm so thrilled you always seem to enjoy my writing, it's a big confidence boost! I haven't been active on Booksie for a few months due to health reasons, have been undergoing treatment, but I hope to be back soon. Keep writing my friend!

Thu, February 18th, 2021 11:52am

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