The Primrose Line – Episode 22

Illustration by Ged Fay

Martin and Laura had gone to the chalet for the weekend, where Martin wanted to make a start on the refurbishment of the annexe that would be Jim’s.

It was a beautiful morning and the sun was even warm in the sheltered part of the sloping garden. Martin had found a suitable rock to sit on to take a break.

Laura brought him a coffee. They looked down to where Adrienne and Emile were building a den from fallen pine branches.

“How’s it going?” she asked him.

Martin squinted into the sunlight and sipped the coffee appreciatively.

“Better than I expected. The timbers are as solid as the day they were put in.”

“I’m not surprised. Quality came as standard in those days.”

“Yes, but we’re still quite lucky in Switzerland. With me doing the work we can afford to keep that standard.”

“Even though it may all be for nothing.”

He shrugged.

“No-one could have foreseen such a development. I don’t see that it changes much, no matter what your father decides. This will still be paradise as a retirement home for us, if God allows.”

Laura shivered. Martin’s simple honesty and acceptance of life’s changes, good and bad, was something that always took her breath away.

She’d tried to be like him over the years but had never quite attained that special kind of nirvana that was part of his natural spirit. Perhaps you just had to be born here, with the mountains around you, to remind you of your true stature.

He took her hand, looking deep into her eyes.

“I fear we don’t quite see the same picture at the moment.”

“I’m sorry, Martin. It’s all my fault. I have everything, but . . .”

“It’s not enough.” He finished the sentence, a little bluntly, for her.

“Like I said, it just must be that time of life when you look back on what you’ve achieved and ask a few pointed questions.”

“What about those two down there? Aren’t they enough?”

“Heaven knows they should be, but they just make me feel guilty for not appreciating them more. What makes it worse is that I know I should be happy with what I have, count my blessings and all that.

“But all I see is me growing older, passing the reins of the hotel to Emile and Adrienne and sitting here watching the sun go down on the lake.”

“They may not want to have anything to do with the hotel, and that day is a long way off.”

“Do you think we had them too late? We’re quite old as parents compared to the other parents at school.”

“I’d say that was kind of an academic question and I’m sure our little break in England will help.”

He finished his coffee and stood up.

“Now, I must get back to work. It would be too easy to stay here basking in the sunshine!”

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.