WEEKEND BREAK b y Sally Stackhouse
Stella parked the car at the viewing point. She didn’t need a telescope to look down in to the valley. This was her home from home. She loved the sight of the church nestling in between the woods, it reminded her of a small English church back in Sussex. The one where she was a bridesmaid at a cousin’s wedding. Unfortunately said cousin also repeated a wedding a few years later after divorcing her first husband but that’s what happened sometimes.
It wasn’t so easy to leave work behind but if she didn’t recharge her batteries soon she would run out of steam. The pressures of work, deadlines to meet, meetings to organise, it all fell on her shoulders. She thought of the paperwork in her briefcase sitting on the passenger seat, it took all of her willpower to leave it there, unopened, even though the notes she’d taken on the forum were almost yelling at her to be transcribed in to some sort of action agenda. It would have to wait. She was going to enjoy this long weekend.
Stella drove past the picturesque church and on in to the tiny township. She pulled up outside a familiar front door. Before she could get out of the car, her friend was rushing down the garden path, waiting with open arms to greet her.
‘You look tired, Stella,’ Ann was always open and candid.
A muffled sound came from Stella as she tried to extricate herself from the bear hug that Ann was gripping her with.
‘Nothing that being with you for a few days won’t sort out.’
Ann started talking nineteen-to-the dozen, the guest room was ready, did she want to rest now or have a cuppa and a chat. Tonight, there would just be the two of them, so they had all the time in the world. Stella decided she would change into comfortable loungewear and come down for the proverbial catch-up. She brought the bottle of white wine down with her to chill in the fridge for later on in the evening.
The next day dawned but Stella wasn’t aware of the morning sun. She eventually woke up with the chimes of the church bell. Noon! What already? She quickly showered and dressed and made her way downstairs.
Ann smiled sweetly at her whilst thrusting a cup of coffee in to her hands. A few sips and Stella was feeling as though she could take on the world. She gazed around and realised the living room had been transformed in to something resembling a café. Several tables were set with colourful plates and cutlery.
She raised her eyebrows at Ann, pointing to the arrangement.
‘Ah, I may have forgotten to mention that the family are coming over later today.’ For a moment Ann looked slightly guilty but then beamed up at Stella. ‘They are so looking forward to seeing you.’
So much for resting and relaxing. Stella shrugged and said, ‘It’s only for today?’
Ann nodded vigorously explaining it was all in hand, she’d been preparing for a while now and dishes were being brought as well from the family.
A lovely time was had, chatting and laughing. Once the dishes were cleared away, washed and put in their appropriate places or stacked ready to be taken back to their own homes, the games came out.
The first game involved three pink cubes. Stella had never seen them before nor played this particular game. In fact, she can’t even remember the name of the game or the rules only that it was great fun. She was sure her Uncle Dick changed the rules to suit him and needlessly to say, won most of the rounds. She would not begrudge him that as she felt herself relaxing in the love and friendship of this very special evening.
Word count: 639