Empty

I sat on the sofa looked and round my tidy living room. I had been cleaning the house all morning as I normally did on a Wednesday which was my half day off both of my part-time jobs.

Something wasn’t right…It was too quiet.

For the last six months, I’d had six children stuck at home creating havoc and testing me none stop! My role of mother and step-mother had suddenly expanding into primary and high school teachers, artist, examiner, organiser, peacekeeper and technician.

Today, though they had all gone back to school!

The house felt too big suddenly and I a mouse. Shutting my eyes, I took a few deep breaths and told myself I didn’t miss the stress of those days. Yes, it had been nice to spend time with them all but wasn’t nicer to have a few hours to myself now?

My second husband, Dean, had missed all of this. As a key worker he hadn’t stopped and ‘normal’ had carried on for him.

‘We can send them to school you know,’ Dean had said, ‘key worker children are allowed. Paula’s children go.’

‘I know, but I feel safer with them all here. Let’s see how it goes and maybe the older children can go to school in a month or so?’ I had replied.

‘You know they are saying this virus doesn’t really effect children? All of ours are under the age of eighteen so they are fine,’ Dean pointed out.

‘On the other hand, it’s a new bug and they don’t understand much at the moment. I know keeping them out of school isn’t good but for the time I just feel it’s the right thing,’ I explained, ‘when there’s more information we can decided then.’

Maybe, I was being a too protective mother hen? Or perhaps, I felt more prepared then other parents, having once been a school teacher before ill health and the death of my fourth child had impacted.

It didn’t matter now. It was September and they were back at school. The virus wasn’t gone though but at least it was mostly being controlled and understood. I was even going back to both my jobs tomorrow. My ‘office’ job was still work from home but my house cleaning one which had been on and off was regular again.

I looked at the clock. It was creeping past lunchtime and I should get something to eat before going on the computer.

I wonder what the children are doing right now.

Over D.I.U-ing It#CCC

The hammering woke Mrs. Long before her alarm clock could. She rolled over, reaching for her husband but he wasn’t in bed next her.

Getting up, she crossed the room to draw back the curtains and swung the window opened. Looking down into the garden, she saw her husband. He was removing the rotting back fence.

‘What are you doing now, Tom?’ Mrs Long called.

He turned, peered up at her and shout back, ‘what does it look like I’m doing woman?’

Mrs Long shut her mouth before the angry reply could escape. She closed the window and walked away, thinking that she couldn’t wait for her husband to return to work so she could have some peace.

 

(Inspired by; https://crispinakemp.com/2020/08/26/crimsons-creative-challenge-94/ with thanks).

New Life

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In Iraq, Abida had had a nice house. It had been large and airy, with enough space for her seven children and her parents and her husband’s grandmother to all live happily together. They’d been well off. Not rich but enough to have the house with a garden and to pay the wages of a servant or two.

Now, the house like their lives was nothing but rumble. Behind in the dust they had left the newly buried bodies of her husband’s grandmother, Abida’s father and her youngest two children; three month old Fatima and two year old Shakur.

They had been in the house when the bomb had dropped and now they were in the cemetery with their other passed relatives. Her husband’s parents who were living in the house next door with his sister and her family had all died too.

Leaving had been the only chance of survival they had. For the next few years, they had travelled and past through camp after camp and country after country. Abida’s husband, Maijd, wasn’t sure where was best to move his family to. Abida’s mother had suggest many places but finally Maijd had decided on the England.

It had been a trail and taken a toil which caused Abida to have a miscarriage, but finally the family got in England and were moved into a council apartment above an empty shop.

Abida hated it. There were three small bedrooms, a tiny bathroom, a living room and kitchen. The rooms smelt like the Indian takeaway restaurant a few shops down and also cigarette smoke. There was a handful of furniture including; a sofa, a double bed, one bunk bed and two single beds. It was the total opposite of Abida’s home but far better then the tent they had shared in the last few years.

‘How can we all fit in here?’ Abida asked her husband.

‘We shall make do. The woman said this bed pulled out…’ Maijd trailed as he took the coverings off to look at the sofa bed.

‘I’m not sleeping on that,’ Abida’s mother snapped, ‘I shall take one of the bed’s in here.’

‘Then, Bibi share that room with your grandmother,’ Abida said.

The eighteen year old nodded and took her and grandmother’s things into that room.

‘Kadeem and Hayfe can have the other room for now,’ Abida directed her youngest son and daughter, ‘Tarek and Tamir will have that bed,’ she finished with a look at the fifteen year old twin boys.

The family had settled in as best they could and with hope from Maiji that this was only for now and soon they would have a suitable house. Meanwhile, the children started school, finding it difficult with the little English they knew, Maiji searched for a job and Abida and her mother kept the apartment and looked after everyone.

A month or so later and the only change was that Maiji had found a job at a food shop. There seemed no chance of the family moving again soon which as Abida put her hands on her tummy, wasn’t ideal but at least her family were finally safe.

Packages #FridayFictioneers

The doorbell rang and I went to answer it. On the doorstep was a medium size box. Looking up, I saw the deliveryman waving as he went back to his van. I waved back then gathered my parcels.

‘Postman?’ my husband called from the study where he was working from home.

‘No…it’s a thing for me,’ I answered.

‘More Amazon?’ 

I went to deny it but I couldn’t. Since starting lockdown my world had moved online. Everything I wanted came at the click of a mouse and it was like Christmas everyday but if it kept me going then it was worth it.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/07/15/17-july-2020/ with thanks).

Coffee Art

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I had always admired the art designs on top of my lunchtime coffee from the posh cafe next to my office.

Since working from home though, I had missed it. My home coffees looked so plain, so normal and I missed that treat that broke up my day. In the morning, I looked forward to the coffee art; what design would I get today? In the afternoon, energised, I enjoyed thinking about the creativity.

There was only one thing for it. I had to learn how to do the designs myself. Perhaps, that way, I would feel better about working from home.

Operation #TaleWeaver

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I sat at a desk in the cleared dinning room which was now the reception of a imaginary hospital. I shuffled blank pages around to pretend I was working.

‘Hello!’ my seven year old daughter, Adile spoke.

I looked across at her with her waterfall of blonde hair and pink summer dress on. In her hands she held her favourite teddy bear. He was a medium size, with curly brown fur, a red faded bow tie at his neck, one ear and two black eyes.

She slide teddy on to the desk then with a determined but grim face began telling me a story, ‘we need to see a doctor. Teddy had an accident and he’s got a huge cut in his side and all his stuffing is falling out! You aren’t feeling so good, are you Teddy? So, we’ve come to the hospital to make him feel better.’

‘I see!’ I cried, ‘right, I’m sure we can make teddy better. Let me get some details down then I nurse will come and to assess you then the doctor will examine teddy.’

Adile nodded.

I grabbed a pen and piece of paper, ‘name please?

‘Mr. Teddy Bear.’

‘Age?’

‘Erm…five!’

‘Address?’

‘My house.’

‘Which is what?’ I asked.

Adile recited our address carefully.

‘Phone number?’

Adile thought and repeated the numbers of our house phone.

Then, though it was silly, I took Adile’s name and details, so it seemed this make belief game was real. Then I questioned what was wrong with teddy and wrote the details down.

‘Can you draw me a picture of his injures?’ I asked and handed Adile pencil and piece of paper.

Adile nodded and got to drawing a teddy like shape with a hole in his side and a cloud coming out of it.

‘There!’ she said and give it back to me.

‘That’s good. Please take a seat and wait for the nurse to call you,’ I said and pointed to the dinning room table chairs which were lined against the wall.

I put the paper I had written on and Adile’s drawing on a clipboard then I got up and left the room. Going into the living room, I changed my pink jumper to a blue one and put a nurse’s hat on my head.

I walked back in, stopped in the doorway and looked at the clipboard, ‘Mr. Teddy Bear?’ I called.

‘Here!’ Adile answered with her hand up.

‘I’m the nurse. This way please,’ I said and lead them into the conservatory. I sat down on the floor before the coffee table and Adile sat down on the other side. Teddy on her lap.

‘So, what’s the problem?’ I asked.

Adile launched into her story of teddy’s injury again.

I nodded along then asked to look at him. Adile placed teddy on the coffee table and I looked at the large hole inside and some stuffing poking out.

‘That looks sore,’ I said, ‘does it hurt a lot?’

Adile lent her head down as if listening to teddy whispering to her then spoke, ‘he says it hurts loads.’

‘Oh dear!’ I cried, ‘let me take your vitals and we shall rush you through!’

From the children’s doctor’s kit, I got a stethoscope and listened to teddy’s heart. I wrote some numbers on the paper. Then I took his temperature and so forth, as if I was a real nurse carrying out all the needed tests.

‘Right, that looks okay, Mr Teddy. I’m going to speak to the doctor right now and then we shall get you into surgery.’

‘Is it that bad?’ Adile shouted.

‘Yes I’m afraid so. We need to stitch up that cut and give you a stuffing transfer right away!’

‘Oh no!’ Adile moaned and hugged teddy tightly.

‘It’ll all be fine. Teddy won’t feel anything and afterwards, he’ll be as good as new. Can I leave to get the doctor now?’

Adile buried her face in teddy and nodded.

I left the room and went into the living room once more. I changed jumpers to a white one, took off the nurse’s hat, put the stethoscope on, my reading glasses on and tied my hair back into a ponytail.

I walked into the conservatory and announced, ‘I’m the doctor.’

‘Doctor!’ Adile cried, ‘please fix my teddy!’

Tears sparkled in her eyes and she was on the edge of a crying session again.

I knelt down and took both Adile’s hand and teddy’s paw.

‘It’s all going to be okay,’ I said gently, ‘I know just want to do. Would you like to come with me now? You can stay with teddy whilst I operate.’

‘Yes, please!’ Adile spoke.

I helped her up from the floor and we went into the living room.

‘Mr. teddy, please lay on the table here. Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine,’ I spoke.

Adile lay teddy on the coffee table and I handed her the nurse’s hat whilst asking, ‘would you like to be the nurse?’

With a nod, Adile put the hat on then patted teddy to comfort him.

‘Here’s a mask for you, nurse and also one for me,’ I said and we both put the green masks onto our lower faces, so our mouths and noses were covered.

‘Firstly, teddy let’s give you some special gas which will make you sleepy,’ I said, ‘nurse? Let’s count to ten together whilst I do this, okay?’

I picked up an empty paper bag and place it over the bear’s face. Then I gently and slowly pressed the bag inwards, so it crumbled and became flat. Adile and I counted to ten.

‘Mr teddy? can you hear me?’ I spoke.

Adile lent in then shook her head, ‘he’s a sleep,’ she added.

‘Good. Right. I got some stuffing here and I’m going to put it inside the wound now.’

I put a few handfuls of stuffing inside the teddy. Felt it and added one more handful.

‘Is that enough?’ Adile asked.

‘Yes, I believe so and now I’m getting the needle and thread….’

Adile gasped and put her hands to her cheeks, ‘No!’ she wailed.

‘It’s okay,’ I answer soothingly.

I thread the needle with brown thread and got sewing the hole closed.

‘Oh, teddy, oh teddy, please be okay!’ Adile muttered.

She started sniffing and sobbing. I reassure her as best I can.

I finished sewing the hole. I tied and cut the threads then smooth teddy’s fur to hide my handwork.

‘Nurse, I’m all done. You can wake him now,’ I say.

Adile gently shook teddy a few times whilst calling his name. I sit him upright and handed him back to her.

‘Teddy? Are you well again? Let me see!’ Adile said and she carefully inspected my sewing, ‘he’s fine now,’ she concluded and give him a tight hug.

‘Teddy needs some fresh and sun now. Can you take him outside to play? He should be able to now.’

Adile nodded and come over to hug me. Her warm arms wrap around my neck and I hugged her back. I took off the nurses’ hat and mask and kiss her cheek.

‘Thank you, mummy,’ Adile said.

‘Your welcome,’ I answered.

Adile rushed off and I tided things away and straighten things out again. In the conservatory, I paused and watched my daughter and her teddy bear playing in the sandbox, the sun bouncing off her blonde hair and her face full of happiness.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2020/03/26/tale-weaver-268-medical-26th-march/ with thanks).

The Rising Sea

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Oliver peered nervously out of the window and saw a sea wave crashing over the wall and on to the road outside his house.

The white foam tops of the waves clouded the air and sea spray mingled with the falling rain. The sea roared with an untameable lust that deafened everything nearby, only challenged by booming thunder.

The weather forecast had said it was going to bad on the coasts and flooding were likely. Of course, Oliver had prepared with sandbags at the doors and low windows. Most of his furniture was stacked upstairs and his car was parked up at Raven’s Edge cliff carpark.

Oliver thought that he should have stayed with his car because it was safer but he would have been fretting too much about his house being flooded.

Listening to the sea bashing about as the wild wind stirred the waves up and rain poured down, Oliver realised it was too late to do anything else. He would just have to hope that the sea didn’t rise anymore and his house didn’t flood.

Frozen In Time #WUWritingPrompt

The windows were crazed by icy lines as if a spider had gone hyperactive and spun it’s web madly. Frost lay inside the house as well as out, showing that this place had long been abandoned to nature.

My breath fogged before my face and I had cover my mouth and nose with my scarf. Dust lay thick and a crumbled calendar on the wall was dated ten years ago.

I didn’t fear the homeless, drug users or anyone else who might be here because the house wasn’t suitable. It was colder then outside and the water was frozen in the pipes. Plus, this house was far from anywhere else. My guess was it could have been the game keeper’s home from what had once been a big estate before the land had been sold off for the building of new houses.

I photographed what interested me, taking my time and enjoying this experience of untouched urban exploring.

A lone mug stood on the windowsill as if someone had been drinking tea whilst looking out at the winter snowstorm. I captured that moment feeling like it summed up the atmosphere in the house.

 

(Inspired by; https://writersuniteweb.wordpress.com/2020/01/06/enzo-stephens-just-stay-home/ with thanks).

Goodbye To Christmas

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It was time to pack Christmas way. It felt like the decorations and the tree had always been up. The green wreath on the door welcoming guests and the lights flashing colours warmly.

The boxes came down from the attic, the tape came out once more to secure things. There was the slow and careful packing of breakable things; glass angels and burbles. The lights were wrestled back into their boxes to be untangled next December. All that fragrance of Christmas began to fade.

The house seemed different once things were taking down. They left behind an strange emptiness that couldn’t be filled by anything else.

Skylight #FridayFictioneers

It was hard to know what the last owners of the house had been thinking, everything seemed topsy turvy. However, I was happy we had finally found a place to call home and with two months to go before our first baby arrived.

I looked up at the skylight in the kitchen extension and wondered why someone had decided a glass roof was needed when the windows let enough light in. Like most of the other strange fixtures, there wasn’t much we could do about it.

Still though, it was home now.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/09/18/20-september-2019/ with thanks).