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“Comfort and Joy” by Sally Stackhouse

Sally Stackhouse | Stories

Hi, everybody!

I sat down to write my story this morning and saw out of the corner of my eye Sally’s story. I quickly got back to my own document so I wouldn’t get my ideas from Sally. However, I should have… Then I would have realized my mistake: I had not included the four required prompt words! So I’ll go back in and revise it right now.  Without further adieu, here is Sally’s fine work.

STORY PROMPT: 31 MAY 2021

Use all these words with the three photographs

  • hear
  • prejudice
  • creed
  • risk

  30 May, 2021

 

COMFORT AND JOY 

by Sally Stackhouse

 

The joy on Bertie and Frankie’s faces as they bounded up to me was just priceless.  We could learn a lot from these two dogs about the simple pleasures in life, enjoying each moment and loving more, hating less.  If only the rest of the world would keep to that creed it would certainly be a more pleasant place to live in. 

Aunt Betty brought up the rear, her Burberry raincoat had seen better days, as had her wellington boots, her sturdy walking stick (not to help her walk, you understand, only to help access rocky places).  She couldn’t risk taking a tumble, there would be nobody to look after her precious dogs, let alone organise all the charity events she was involved in. 

Marcie looked at her aunt with wonder, in her eighties and still living life to the full.  They wandered back to her cottage, through the slightly overgrown path leading to the back door, where wellies and coats and boots were exchanged for household slippers.  The dogs’ bowls were replenished with water and the sound of contented animals lapping the liquid as though their lives depended on it was such a comforting  sound to Marcie, especially after the trauma she’d been through. 

Her aunt was her soul mate, a sounding board, somebody who always gave good advice and never, ever gave up on living life to the full.  Betty had had her fair share of ups and downs, lots of prejudice came her way when she and her husband moved to the small country village.  Incomers they were called but Marcie and Imran smiled all through it and eventually won every single villager over with their giving natures and pleasant outlook on life.  

Imran suffered a fatal heart attack and that’s when Betty realised how much they had immersed themselves into village life.  She’d never had so many visitors or calls on her old-fashioned, rotary, green Bakelite telephone.   

Ensconced at the well-worn but scrubbed clean kitchen table the two ladies settled down with a pot of tea between them and home-made shortbread biscuits.  The Aga was throwing out heat, the smell of drying clothes hanging on the lines above heated range. 

The two dogs came and settled down on their beds in front of the Aga, soaking up the heat, panting slightly, tongues lolling out of the sides of their mouths.  An idyllic picture of domestic bliss.  

Marcie knew this was the dream but she also realised dreams like this took a lot of hard work.  As aunt and niece sipped tea and crunched on the biscuits Aunt Betty started to reminisce.  Marcie loved to hear her stories, they always had a kick in the tail, a moral to tell, always relevant to what was going on in Marcie’s life at the present time. 

The weekend visit went by far too quickly, Marcie wanted to hear more stories and just wished that Aunt Betty’s common sense could be commuted to the decisions, bad or otherwise, that she tended to make in her own personal circumstances. 

Marcie beeped her horn and waved, watching Aunt Betty waving back at her from her rear-view mirror, two hours before she arrived in her dingy little flat in a busy, fairly large town.  She must change things in her life, work being one of them.  Coming back refreshed and recharged, decisions made in the comfort of Aunt Betty’s home, were not going to be quite as easy to implement as they seemed to be when discussing them over tea and biscuits. 

Her last day at work came and all Marcie felt was huge relief, working her final months’ notice was hard, much harder than she thought it would be.   Handing over her current work load, teaching her replacement the ropes, then holding back the tears but knowing that she would find joy in her next adventure.   She’d kept quiet about her plans despite being hassled and harassed every day as to what she was doing next.  Wouldn’t they be surprised if they had learnt her secret passion.  They would someday.  

Someday they would say, ‘I knew Marcie when she worked in my office.’

For now, her dream was coming true – cruise ship here she came.  Entertaining the passengers, smiling throughout the day, singing her heart out, who knew what the next few years had in store for her.  Every time the ship docked, she would hightail it to Aunt Betty’s, regale her with her own stories, and then return to her nightly cabaret spot.  

A star is born. 

 

Word count 778

 

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One Comment

  1. Sally — I love stories like this — themes of hardship and/or loss and then the person decides to work on her dream. So glad she did! I must say, Sally, you write the characters as if I know them; I find myself being vested in their happiness. Nice work!

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