THE LONELY OLD LADY

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short tale to demonstrate the affinity between the young and the old.

Submitted: January 17, 2012

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Submitted: January 17, 2012

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THE LONELY OLD LADY

As the people went past she sat there, alone, by the window; it overlooked the street and hidden from view behind her net curtains she thought nobody knew she was there, so she felt safe, peering out at the passers-by, their scurrying feet clip-clopping along the pavement.  The traffic and people made a kaleidoscope of colours and shapes, but the old lady loved the noise and bustle and it was always busy at half-past eight with the laughing, chatting and giggling of the children as they meandered along to school.  It made her feel part of the community, brought her to life.

She didn’t miss much as she watched them go past and she recognised many by sight; there was the young Mum from number four, the twins from down the road, and she knew the small girl with the cherubic face was called Emily because she’d often heard her Mum calling for her to hurry up, she’d be late!  Sometimes the old lady wondered if Emily had seen her, because she seemed to glance towards the window.  But no, she couldn’t possibly know she was there.  Nobody knew.  Nobody cared.  She didn’t know that some of the children laughed at her and called her a nosy old witch, and the cheekier boys, not meaning to be cruel, but doing what children do,made faces at her behind the hedge, thumbing their noses and sticking their tongues out, mocking the old lady behind the twitching net curtains.

Wait!  There was the postman, his postbag full.  Was there anything there for her?  Would he perhaps come through the gate, up the path, knock at the door or push a packet through the letterbox?  No, he never visited her house, nobody did.

She led a lonely existence, living on her own, her husband long dead, and she rattled about in a house that was much too big for her.  She no longer had any purpose in life, which was why she watched at the window, gaining a vicarious pleasure from peeping into other people’s lives.  Nobody came to call.  Well, she didn’t want anyone to come!  She didn’t want anybody to encroach on her privacy!  She didn’t need anybody!  She kept herself to herself, that’s how it was and always would be.  She was lonely, but too proud to admit it. 

The school bell was ringing and the clatter of footsteps faded away as the children were absorbed into another day’s lessons.  The old lady reluctantly moved away from the window, headed towards the kitchen for her tea and toast, then stumbled, reached hopelessly for something to hold on to.  But her clawing hands reached only thin air.  She slumped heavily on to the carpet, an ominous crack resounding around the empty house as her fragile bones met the floor.  She couldn’t move.

“Help!  Help!”  But her quavering voice reached nobody.  All was quiet except for a faint moaning as she tried in vain to get up.  Finally, she fell into a troubled sleep, spread-eagled on the floor.

Hours passed by.  Still no-one came.

At half-past three, once more the tip-tapping footsteps could be heard along the pavement.  School was out but there was nobody at the window making the net curtains twitch, trying once more to feel part of the community.

Emily was passing by with her Mum and she glanced up at the window.  She was a kind little soul and had often wished she could get to know the mysterious old lady who sat, day after day, by the window.

“Mummy!  Mummy!” her little voice said urgently.  “The old lady isn’t there.  She’s always there.  Where is she?”

“I expect she’s just tired and gone to lie down,” said Emily’s Mum.

“No, there’s something wrong, I know there is,” said Emily.  “Please can we knock at the door?”

Reluctantly, Mum agreed.  They walked up the path and rang the bell.  They knocked on the door.  Silence emanated from the house.  All of a sudden Emily heard a faint moan.

“She’s in there, something’s happened!” the little girl exclaimed.

Her Mum peered through the window and saw the prostrate figure lying on the floor.  A quick 999 call on her mobile brought an ambulance and the police.  They soon had the door open and took the old lady to the hospital.  

At visiting time, Emily was there with her Mum, bringing a big bunch of flowers.  The old lady opened her rheumy eyes and smiled.  An instant bonding took place between very old and very young as Emily shyly went over and planted a butterfly kiss on the old lady’s downy cheeks.  “I’ll come and visit you every day,” Emily said.

And so they did.  They gradually got to know one another and during those formative weeks there had been some discussions at Emily’s home.  So, on the day before the old lady was to be discharged and taken into a nearby care home - because she would never be able to look after herself any more - Emily came again with her Mum.  Decisions had been made and they hoped the old lady would go along with them.

“I’m so glad you’re nearly better,” she said.  “Will you come home with us and be my new granny - pleeease?  Can I call you granny?”

Emily’s Mum nodded approval.  “Emily hasn’t got a granny any more and we have a huge house with an annexe that is crying out for somebody to come and live there.  We would consider it a great honour if you would come and share our home and be Emily’s grandmother.”

The old lady’s heart leapt with joy.  She did need somebody, she admitted that now.  And now she had a ready-made family with a new granddaughter whom she would see every day.  She wearily nodded and smiled at Emily.

“Thank you, my dear, thank you.  You’ve made an old lady very happy.  I’d love to be your Granny.”

And she fell asleep, no longer troubled, but with happy visions of a bright future, no longer alone.


© Copyright 2019 Arty Pat. All rights reserved.

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