The Ties That Bind – Episode 38

Characters from the serial, Evelyn and Phil with their children Dan and Janie.

“I’ve decided to take voluntary redundancy and I’m planning on starting up my own business.”

“Wow! Really?” Evelyn was both surprised and delighted. “Doing what?”

“Gardening. I’ve been doing a couple of gardens round my neighbourhood already and Mrs Canning beside you wants me to do hers, too, so I’m off to a good start.”

Phil’s eyes shone with enthusiasm.

“That’s great, Phil. You’ll be much happier – oh, I know of someone else, too. I’m sure Lynda would like you to do hers, if you’re interested.”

“That’s brilliant. I haven’t even started up properly yet!” Phil looked delighted and continued talking enthusiastically.

“I’ve been to a couple of ‘back to work’ seminars and getting advice about business start-ups. It’s been really interesting.

“I’ll be able to buy a van and some new tools with my redundancy package and I’ve asked Janie to design a logo.”

“That’s good. I’m really pleased for you, Phil.”

“Thanks. I’m looking forward to it.” Phil swallowed the last of his tea. “And what about you, Evelyn? Are you glad you went back to nursing?”

“I love it – even when it’s difficult.”

“I’m glad. It makes such a difference to be happy in your work. I should know.”

“I’m glad things are working out for you, Phil. It was good to see you.” Evelyn unhooked her bag from the back of her chair.

“Thanks for letting me speak, Evelyn,” Phil said. “I’ll walk you to the stop.”

The air was much cooler when they stepped outside, and Evelyn shivered.

“So what’s next on your agenda?” she asked to fill in the time till the bus arrived.

“As soon as I get in, I’ll check to see if Janie’s sent me any logo ideas. She’s been great, Evelyn.

“We’ve been in touch a lot more since I asked for her advice about this.”

A wave of sadness washed over Evelyn. Phil noticed how her face fell.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Ev. I thought she’d have been in touch with you by now. I told her she should.”

“Well, that’s possibly one of the reasons she hasn’t,” Evelyn replied, resigned.

One thing Janie had in common with her father when she was angry was a tendency to do the opposite of what people asked of her.

“Do you want me to speak to her again?” Phil offered.

“It’s OK. I’m sure she’ll come round in time,” Evelyn said, wishing she believed it.

Janie was well known for her stubbornness, so if she made up her mind to stay angry, there wasn’t a lot anyone could do about it.

Nevertheless, Evelyn was broken-hearted. Janie was still her daughter and she loved her. Missed her.

She sighed.

“It was all so stupid.”

“Most arguments are, when it comes down to it,” Phil replied, surprising her.

“Here’s my bus,” Evelyn said thankfully. “I’ll see you later, Phil.”

“OK. I’ll –”

“Phil? I thought it was you.” A woman walking past with a small dog stopped beside him.

Phil looked blankly at her.

“I’m Frances,” the stranger said, and Evelyn couldn’t fail to notice the warmth in her smile. “We met at the ‘back to work’ seminar last week.”

“Oh, yes, of course,” Phil said politely. “Nice to see you.”

“And you.” Evelyn saw the momentary flick of the newcomer’s eyes in her direction and realised that she was considered the gooseberry here.

Fortunately, the bus pulled up and Evelyn hopped on without delay.

“Goodnight, Phil. Take care,” she called.

As the bus moved away, she saw Phil and Frances continuing to walk together.

Evelyn suppressed a giggle. She’d no idea how well they knew each other, but Frances was obviously interested in Phil.

Whether or not he realised it, Evelyn couldn’t really tell, but it was liberating to discover how little she actually cared.

To be continued…

An error has occurred while loading your details. Please click the following link to try again - if the issue persists, please don't hesitate to contact us. Try again by refreshing the page.