Christmas Cards

merry-christmas-2984136_1920

Sitting back in her armchair, with hands that never stopped shaking, Mary opened the envelopes of the three letters the postman had just put through the door.

The first was an electric bill she would have to go to the post office to pay off. The second was a junk letter about signing up for a credit card and the third was a charity circular  which as well as wanting her to send money for homeless people, contained a Christmas card and gift sticker labels.

Mary looked at the Christmas card, it was a drawing of a brass band playing in the snow next to a town centre war memorial. She smiled and opened the card. It was blank inside.

Putting the other letters aside, Mary got up and placed the card with the handful of others on the window sill, next to the little Christmas tree who’s fibre optic lights changed colour and give little magic to the cold room.

Going back to her chair, Mary pulled a blanket she had knitted over her knees and dozed in front the TV. She was not interested in watching much now, it was mostly the background noise and the sound of voices that made her keep the TV on all the time.

The doorbell rang around lunchtime, breaking into a dream Mary had been having about being a little girl lost in a snowy countryside. Mary stirred, heard the door unlock and open.

A voice called out, ‘Mary? it’s only me, nurse Sandra. Sorry I’m late. It’s terrible weather out and Mr Lambrook fell this morning! Such a fuss! Are you okay?’

‘Hello, I’m fine thanks,’ Mary answered.

Sandra appeared in the doorway, rain dripping off the hem of her health visitor’s blue and white dress. Her dyed bright red hair was tied back into a bun and her face was blotchy red with cold and rushing about.

‘How about I make us a cup of tea and some soup?’ Sandra asked.

‘That would be lovely.’

Watching the lunchtime news they ate and drink, making light comments on the daily events. Then Sandra ran some health checks on ninety-three year old Mary, asked some basic questions and made a few notes.

Waiting for Mary to come back from the bathroom, Sandra noticed the new Christmas card and realised she had received the same one yesterday. Getting up, she left her notebook on the chair and went to the windowsill. Picking up the card, she opened it and saw it was blank.

Placing it back, Sandra looked in the other cards and found that all ten were blank. A few had come from charity letters, one from a high street shop valuing a loyal customer, another a craft magazine sample and two others from packs of cards that donated money to charity when brought.

Sandra felt a wave a sadness. Had no one sent Mary a real Christmas card this year and when was the last time anyone had?

Hearing the toilet flush, Sandra returned to the other armchair and took up her notebook once again. She wanted to write her finding down and suggested Mary was lonely. Sandra knew not much would come of that though, other then another push to get Mary to move into a care home. Mary had repeatedly refused, she wanted to die in the house she had been born in, like her mother before her.

‘Did you manage okay?’ Sandra asked as Mary shuffled into the room.

‘Yes,’ Mary answered though she seem out of breath.

‘Right. I’ve just a few more things and then I have to go.’

They finished up, said their goodbyes and Sandra went out to her little blue car. Sitting there, Sandra looked at the closing door of Mary’s house and wished she could do something to help the old woman.

Well…maybe there was….

The next day, the postman dropped more letters through Mary’s door. Mary hobbled from the kitchen were she had been cleaning up milk she had spilt. Collecting the letters, she went back into the kitchen where it was warmer and opened the envelopes.

There was a Christmas card and inside was writing.

Mary read the words, tears coming to her eyes. Sandra had sent her a card.

Abandoning the other letters, Mary took the card and moving the blank charity one, placed Sandra’s next to the flashing tree.

All day, Mary’s eyes kept going to the Christmas card and she found herself constantly smiling.

Advertisements

In The Cards #TwitteringTale

craft-2728227_1920

I shuffled the tarot cards, they would reveal my future but I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. Taking the first ones, I made a cross shape then placed three on the right. I turned over all the cards and read what they meant. Seems the cards had read my mind; they told me nothing.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/06/26/twittering-tale-90-pick-a-card-26-june-2018/ with thanks).

The Yearly Drawing

oracle-cards-437688_1920.jpg

Roisin sat alone in a darkened room with only the flicking of candle light for company. Arranging her long and many skirts around the stool before settling at the low table, she shut her eyes, drew in a deep breath and prepared herself. Gently tugging back the purple velvet cloth she had draped around her like a shawl, she picked up the card box in her left hand.

The black liqueur box felt cold and smooth in her net gloved hand. It weighed heavily in her palm and she thought about this feeling. The box seemed to hold fate inside of it and mysterious that only the universe knew. That’s where all the weight come from secretly. With her right hand, Roisin slide the lid off and looked inside.

A very faded, but once bright red colored patterned card back met her eyes. The design was flowing, plant leaf like and had an Italian air to it. She touched the white board, which was yellowed with a hundred or so years of age and many fingers. Slowly, she lifted all the large cards out and put the box to one side.

Even though the cards weighted less, they felt more heavier in her hand. Roisin looked at them then held them out as she asked the invisible fingers of fate to touch them. She shut her eyes again and pictured shadows reaching out from the corners towards her. Upon opening her eyes nothing had changed and she was still alone in the room.

Pressing the cards together in her hands, she thought about what she wanted to ask. She felt a slight tingling in her fingers then began to shuffle the cards. For a few moments, she imaged herself in Ireland, deep in all that green and legendary land. The sound of the sea maybe or the wind in the trees. She was there with other people who were waiting in the shadows. They were farmers, maybe, village folk and they feared her yet were fascinated by her.

The image faded and Roisin came back too. She was sat in her bedroom again. The black out curtains on the window, the candles flicking against the walls and the silence pressing down on her. She looked at the cards and realised the shuffling had stopped. Placing them down, she drew the top three and lay then side by side.

Her fingers strayed towards the set aside deck and for a moment she thought about drawing more and making a cross. The reading would be more in depth, but not any clearer. Deciding, she didn’t want to be sat puzzling over the messages, Roisin removed her hand and touched her finger tips to the first card.

She flipped it over, the nine of cups; the wish card. One of her wishes or hopes had come true recently. Happiness and love was her’s and there was good luck in her daily work.

The next was the three of wands; presently she should be experiencing more success and financial matters were better. She should be proud of her work and perhaps a new job was coming up. Life and love was looking fine as long as she was being treated as an equal. If not it was time to move on and if she single, she needed to allow more time.

The last one. She turned it and pressed it down on the table. strength; remember to stay focused and keep things in check. Spend quiet time being reflect and keep a straight head. Work should be going well, there is room to move up or around though and finally find your true worth. If she was in love it was going well and if not now was a good time to find someone.

Roisin rested her hands on the table. She didn’t need to ask the deck anything else. She slipped off the make-shirt shawl and gathered the cards back together. She put them back in the liqueur box then from under the table took out a plastic box. Ignoring the papers and other stuff inside, she put the tarot cards away.

She got up, her thoughts still reflecting on the reading. She blew the candles out and lifting the blinds, let the dull autumn afternoon back inside. Her bedroom lost all of the sinister atmosphere and became a bright space once more.

She packed everything away and got changed into normal clothes again.

The reading had been good. Yet, she felt drawn to find out more. There was always a turn. The cards promised so much and yet fate loved snatching it away. She sat down on her bed next to the box which she couldn’t put away until the candles had gone back in. Roisin looked at the black tarot box through the wavy plastic lid.

They called to her in away she couldn’t described. She could heard them whispering to come out again. Other people needed to hear their fates and she had to be the one to tell them. Her family line was of tellers, so it was her destiny. But she couldn’t do it. Never had she been able to bring herself to embrace it and become one with this ancient magic.

Roisin couldn’t keep away and that was why on Halloween every year, she opened herself up to it to give her some peace. One day though, she knew it would consume like every female member in her family. She would leave like her mother, grandmother and aunts, going wherever the string of fate lead her, telling those who would listen the messages she had for them.

There would be no coming back from that.

Postcard #23

Happy, Birthday, Card, Greeting, Carousel, Horse, Pink

The post landed with a loud thud and I hurried to the front door full of hope. Scooping up the letters I saw a flash of pink, blue and white. Most of the letters were for my parents, but the three at the back were addressed to me. The first was junk mail; a credit card application, but the other two, the ones in the colored envelopes were what I had been waiting for; birthday cards!