THE SIMPLE THINGS
by Sally Stackhouse
Jimmy loved playing football in the park.
‘GOAL!’ He shouted; his mum cheered him on. It was such a shame he had to play on his own. The new move and the new school had been quite daunting for him but he was gradually making friends and finding his way around.
A little while later Jimmy and his mum were walking back to their apartment. Another new thing for Jimmy to get used to. It was such a shame that his dad wasn’t around anymore. Sometimes at night he could hear his mum crying. Sometimes at night he heard his mum talking to her friends on the phone. He knew his dad had gone away but he wasn’t sure where he was. Nobody would tell him.
Jimmy shrugged it off and thought about his teacher who had asked him to read something out at assembly next week. He hadn’t told his mum yet. He was a bit nervous. He didn’t want everybody to laugh at him.
He told his mum at breakfast, she smiled, a happy smile which he didn’t see very often. ‘I’ll help you practice. We’ll talk to your teacher when I pick you up this afternoon.’
Jimmy and his mum practised and practised every day for the next week. Jimmy’s confidence grew and grew. The day came, parents were allowed in to observe the assembly. Maria had her camera in her hand, only to be told that photos were not allowed because some parents didn’t feel comfortable with their children’s pictures broadcast all over any type of social media. Somewhat disappointed, reluctantly Maria put her camera away. The headmaster announced that there would be the opportunity to take single photos of your own child at the end of the event. That would have to do.
If only…. but Maria wasn’t going to go there, what was done was done, she’d bring her boy up well even without his father in the picture.
Standing on the stage Jimmy’s voice rang out loud and clear, he pronounced all the words correctly, his dictation was clear and audible throughout the great hall. Maria was so proud of him, the tears pricked her eyelids, she brushed them away, noticing a few other parents doing the same thing.
She took the picture.
Such a handsome young man, her heart was bursting with pride, she would send her parents a framed photo as a surprise gift. Why wait for Christmas? It was now they wanted to see their grandson. She was doing OK bringing up her son as a single parent. She loved seeing him grow and develop into a confident young boy.
Walking home from school later that afternoon, Jimmy stood spellbound as he noticed a man sitting on the steps leading up to their flat. His clothes were flamboyant, his hair was long and he was smiling as though somebody had just told him a joke.
‘Hi.’ The stranger greeted them with a beaming smile. Jimmy instantly became so shy he couldn’t reply. Maria greeted the stranger back finding it surprisingly easy to talk to him.
His name was Joe, he had just moved into the flats, in fact they found out his flat was opposite theirs. He was a creative soul, a happy and cheerful man.
Jimmy finally found his voice, not knowing what to say, he blurted out the first thing that came to his mind.
‘I’m going horse riding at the weekend. My grandparents are paying for my lessons. It will be my first time.’
‘How wonderful for you. I used to love horse riding when I was a kid.’
Joe smiled at Jimmy, held out his hand with a questioning look at his mum. She nodded and he took the young boy’s hand leading him up the steps, hopping up one step and down one, then hopping two up and down one. So simple yet such fun.
‘Mum, can Joe come in and share our cake?’
They all sat around the dining room table as Maria passed out slices of the cake she had made in celebration of Jimmy’s reading at school that day.
‘This is delicious, Maria.’
‘Yes, mum, it’s yummy!’
Another success Maria could hold on to. She needed all the confidence boosting she could get. As they say, it’s the simple things in life that give the most pleasure.
Word count: 728