The Ties That Bind – Episode 40

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

By the end of Dan’s short journey they’d exchanged phone numbers and made arrangements to meet up at the weekend.

Selina waved to him through the window as the bus drove off again, and Dan’s footsteps felt lighter as he headed homewards.

It seemed that every day he discovered another advantage to not getting that job.

As he reached the end of his street, he waved to Mrs Canning, who was standing at her front window, looking at her pristine garden with pride.

Dan grinned.

Dad’s new career was looking very promising and Dan was relieved to see how much happier he was these days.

He’d struggled for a while, but it looked as if he’d turned the corner.

His phone rang just then – it was probably Mum, checking that he was on his way home.

But it wasn’t. A voice he didn’t recognise began talking and his heart beat faster as the words drifted through his brain.

“. . . the position of Applications Engineer . . . free to attend interview on Monday? . . . Look forward to meeting . . .”

Exhilaration surging through him, he managed somehow to reply without gabbling and, seconds later, it was arranged.

He hung up and punched the air in excitement.

This was almost exactly the same kind of job he’d gone for in Bristol – the type of job he’d been searching for all these months.

The main difference was that this one was on the other side of town, not hundreds of miles away.

With a burst of energy, he broke into a run.

“Mum? You in?” he shouted excitedly as the door crashed shut behind him.

Evelyn came downstairs, wearing her comfiest baggy jumper, clearly looking forward to a well-earned evening in.

“What’s all the hullabaloo?” she asked.

“I have another interview.”

“Oh, Dan, that’s brilliant!” Evelyn’s heart sang as she saw the look of joy on her son’s face. “When? Where?”

“It’s one of the local firms I applied to last week. Monday morning.” His eyes shone with excitement.

“I’m so pleased. Have you told your dad? He’ll be chuffed, too.”

“I only heard a couple of minutes ago. I can’t believe it!” Dan picked his mother up and squeezed her.

“Put me down, you ridiculous boy!” Evelyn laughed. “Tea’s almost ready. Are you hungry?”

“Of course I’m hungry.” Dan hung up his jacket and dumped his rucksack. “Tell you what, since it’s such a special day, I’ll even set the table.”

“You’re too kind.”

Dan set the table at top speed, excitement lending him extra energy, and Evelyn listened to his chat as she checked on their meal.

Like Dan, she couldn’t help smiling. Nothing made her happier than seeing her children happy.

“The veggies need a couple more minutes,” she said, replacing the lid of the saucepan.

“OK. Fancy some juice while we’re waiting?” Dan asked, opening the fridge.

“Thanks.” Evelyn perched on a stool at the breakfast bar and flicked through the small pile of mail.

“Junk. Bill. Junk. Junk . . . oh!” The last one was a square envelope.

“This is Janie’s writing.”

“Looks like a card,” Dan remarked, pouring two glasses of juice.

Evelyn hadn’t heard from Janie for weeks.

She’d tried to make contact after their row, but her daughter hadn’t been ready to talk, so she’d decided, reluctantly, to leave her alone for a while.

Now, after what seemed like an eternity, Janie had got back in touch.

Evelyn felt unexpectedly nervous as she pulled the card out of the envelope.

Inside, Janie had written, I’m sorry, Mum. I was out of order. If you can forgive me, I’d love to talk some time. I miss you x

Tears misted Evelyn’s vision as she showed the message to Dan.

He gave her shoulders a squeeze.

“Phone her, Mum. I’ll bring the food through when it’s ready.”

To be continued…

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