A Time To Reap – Episode 50

A Time To Reap

June read the letter for the umpteenth time. In it, Rita, Sadie’s birth mother, apologised for the short notice. Her fiancé had been offered a job in the south of England so they were going to get married right away.

He was driving her up to Rosland on Saturday and she hoped Tam and June would allow her to make a short visit to see Sadie.

Tam had told June it was entirely up to her – if she didn’t want the visit to happen then he would tell Rita not to come.

After a sleepless night, June had got up to give Sadie her morning feed.

If she were Rita, would she want to see the child who wasn’t legally hers any more? Wouldn’t that bring more pain than pleasure?

But surely Rita must have thought of that.

Could she, June, deny Rita the sight of her daughter? Was it unreasonable of Rita to ask, or would it be unreasonable of June to refuse?

Her thoughts went round and round. But as she lifted the baby over her shoulder to pat her back she thought how little Sadie still was.

The identity of the visitor would mean nothing to her.

If she’d been old enough to ask questions that would be different. She’d have to know some time . . .

June carried Sadie to the kitchen to tell Tam that Rita could come.

Now that Saturday was here, she didn’t know how she was going to cope. Fortunately, there was nothing urgent for Tam to do on the farm, so he was here with her.

He seemed perfectly calm. She could hear him whistling softly on the back step where he was polishing his Sunday shoes.

Sadie was very wide awake. She looked outside with interest when she was carried over to the window and chuckled when June rapped on the glass to stop the kitten digging in the flower-bed.

June froze as a car drew up at the gate.

“Tam! Tam! They’re here.”

She saw red-headed Rita stepping out. She stroked the top of Sadie’s head, with its downy soft hair in exactly the same colour.

“You hold her, Tam,” she said. “I’ll go to the door.”

“It’s the right thing to do, June,” Tam said, kissing her. “We won’t regret it.”

Tam had been right, June thought two hours later. She would have regretted it if she’d said no. The visit must have been difficult for Rita, who cuddled her daughter with tears pouring down her cheeks.

But it did seem to give her a sense that, now, she could move on to her new life.

When she and her fiancé talked about the town they were going to live in, and their plans for the future, she became the lively, chatty girl June remembered.

As they said goodbye June felt a wave of real love for the person who had given them their hearts’ desire. On impulse she put her arms round Rita and held her close. Rita hugged her back, then, with a last look at Sadie, ran down the path.

As the car drove away June felt sadness and relief. A shadow that had hovered at the back of her mind was gone. Now Sadie truly belonged to her and Tam.

“Thank goodness that’s over.” Tam lay back in the chair and closed his eyes.

She sat down beside him, Sadie on her knee. It would be good to think about something completely different for a change.

“Will you help me with my lines for the play later? I haven’t given them a thought. The first rehearsal’s not far away.”

Tam opened his eyes.

“Good idea.” He spoke in a falsetto voice. “‘You told me you were broke. Where did the Rolls-Royce come from?’ See? I don’t even need the script any more.”

June reached for a cushion to hit him with.

“I hope I sound better than that! I want to do a good job of it – not let Peggy Mackay down.”

“I’ll prompt you if you forget your lines,” Tam said.

“No.” It was time that she should move on a little, too. “I’ll go to rehearsals by myself, Tam.”

“You’ll be happy leaving Sadie?”

“I can’t expect you to come with me every time and Sadie would be better at home.” She bounced the baby gently up and down. “With her daddy.”

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.