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.

Submitted: March 02, 2018

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Submitted: March 02, 2018

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A A A


 

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.”

 

 


© Copyright 2019 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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