The Life We Choose – Episode 68

Arms around each other, Sarah and Daniel came down over the hill as the moon was drifting lazily across a darkening sky. The snow had stopped. It had been nothing more than a flurry; a warning of things to come.

“Home again,” Daniel murmured, dropping a kiss on his wife’s hair, his arm tightening around her.

They paused for a moment or two, drinking in the sight of a peaceful Langrigg, lamps shining out from the windows. It might have been a page from a children’s picture book but for the giant black outline of the pit’s winding gear standing sentry over it.

“Daniel Morrison, as I live and breathe. Where, in the name o’ goodness did you spring fae?”

Mary Ellen’s voice shattered their reverie. There she stood, coat thrown on over her apron, her agitation clear to see. Without pausing for breath, she turned to Sarah.

“I was just comin’ tae look for you, Sarah. Nellie Burnett came by a wee while back tae report that you’d wandered away up the hill when ye left oor hoose. Said she was worried that ye might hae come tae harm.”

There were apologies as Sarah and Daniel linked arms with Mary Ellen and walked with her back to her door.

“Ye’ll come in an’ get somethin’ warm inside the baith o’ you,” she insisted, and only the promise that they’d come back to the Walkers’ house with their news a bit later allowed them to escape.

“It doesna matter if it’s late,” Mary Ellen said as they parted company at her door. “We’ll be up gey late, for Pate’s no’ sleepin’ that well these days an’ he’d rather be up in the chair than lyin’ in his bed tossin’ and turnin’.”

Home at last, the fire was roused into life, water was heated and Sarah and Daniel forced themselves to attend to practical things. At last, washed, shaved and wearing fresh clothes, he sat down and consumed the food that Sarah had heated up for him while she toyed with a cup of tea.

“I’ve good news for you, Daniel. Well, it’s good news for both of us,” she told him, eyes shining as she placed the two envelopes her father had given her on the table.

“Good news? That’ll make a pleasant change.”

Daniel pushed away his plate and smiled. But as he read the letters and Sarah laid the money out, his expression darkened.

“We can’t take this money, Sarah,” he told her, “nor go to live in your aunt’s house if we move to Edinburgh. You’re my wife and I’m the provider, come what may. Send the money back to your father.”

Sarah’s hand found his and held it fast. When she spoke at last, her voice was quiet but firm.

“No, Daniel. I’m your wife, so we are as one. Everything we have, we share.”

Her words held such intensity that Daniel met her gaze, and saw in it a determination that he had never seen before.

“And that’s the bargain,” she added as she began to clear away the plates. There was a new strength to her voice, a determined lift to her chin, and Daniel Morrison knew then that he had lost the argument.

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”.