The Life We Choose – Episode 36

For a while, they stood there, entwined in each other’s arms. Not a word was spoken, the silence broken only by the rustle of embers settling in the fire.

“You are, and always will be, the most important person in my life, Sarah. I will never let anything harm you. You know that, don’t you?”

He held her away from him for a moment, his dark gaze locked into hers.

“So if this grieves you, I will set it aside. You are all that matters to me.”

Tenderly, he dried her tears and brought her to sit by the fire. After a moment or two spent in reflective silence, Sarah smoothed Daniel’s hair back from his brow.

“The colonel will be back soon,” she said quietly. “He’ll set everything to rights, Daniel. You’ll see.”

He gave her a playful squeeze,

“I was thinking about something else entirely. Maybe it’s time that I introduced the new Mrs Morrison to my mother and father and to our Katy.”

Sarah beamed with pleasure.

“I’ve hoped you’d say that.” She jumped up, face alight with pleasure.

Daniel didn’t delay with the promised visit. A day later, he and Sarah set out for the Junction. Daniel had arranged a lift with the carter, but Sarah had insisted on walking.

“It’s a fine day for the time of year,” she’d told him. “A walk will do us good. Blow away the coal dust.”

Daniel didn’t argue. Walking to the Junction would perhaps give him time to warn Sarah about his father’s unpredictability, about the darkness he could cast over the house when one of his black moods descended without warning.

“My father’s a good man, Sarah, but he’s not a happy man,” Daniel told his wife as they came within sight of the sprawl of buildings that was the Junction. “He’s a Welshman to his very core, and he misses Wales. He cares about miners and their families, but he can do nothing for them because he’s branded an agitator and no-one will give him work in the pits. He’s a provider for his family and now, no matter how hard he works at anything he can find, he can’t provide enough.”

Sarah squeezed his hand. After a while, she spoke.

“Everything for him is loss, Daniel. Maybe it falls to us to try to give something back to him. We must at least try,” she finished, quickening her step as the tangle of railway lines and the glint of the canal came into view.

Daniel threw an arm round her shoulders and planted a swift kiss on her cheek.

“I’ve just found another reason to love you, Sarah Morrison,” he said quietly.

* * * *

The Junction was quiet, it being Sunday. Sarah and Daniel passed the shops, the smithy, the railway that brought the wagons of coal from Langrigg.

Daniel’s steps slowed a little. As they reached the canal bridge that led across to the main railway line, he pointed.

“There it is,” he said.

The small cottage seemed to cower for shelter into a copse of trees.

It had once been white, but now looked shabby, with runnels of green staining the walls here and there. A single plume of smoke rose from one of the two chimneys.

As they approached, the door flew open and a girl in a white apron, dark hair streaming out behind her, rushed towards them and threw herself into Daniel’s arms.

“Daniel! Mam and me thought you’d never come. Oh, I’m so pleased to see you.”

Laughing, Daniel disengaged himself from her embrace.

“This is my sister Katy,” he said to his wife. “Katy, meet your new sister-in-law, Mrs Sarah Morrison.”

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.