The Ties That Bind – Episode 6

The main characters from the serial, including Evelyn, Phil and their children Dan and Janie.

“Well, you’re a good listener,” Janie remarked.

“Do you think so?” Evelyn was surprised.

“Of course. Whenever I have a problem – I mean a real problem – you’re the one I turn to.” Janie dunked her biscuit in her coffee.

“Maybe you could be a counselling nurse or something – if there’s such a thing.”

“I’ll look into it. Thanks, Janie.” Evelyn patted her daughter’s hand. “I’m touched. More coffee?”

Janie’s mobile tinkled with a text just then and she picked it up.

“Oh, that’s Paula, I’ve got to go. Thanks for lunch, Mum.”

She whisked out of the room and Evelyn gave a tiny sigh. Situation normal.

It was strange, she thought, how often mothers of young children wished for time to themselves and yet, when the children grew up and made their own lives . . .

She stood up, determined not to dwell on self-pity.

She cleared the dishes away and stepped into the garden. After all, she had half-promised herself she’d do a bit of clearing up.

Half an hour later, all she’d managed to do was collect a few stray flower-pots together, fill the bird bath and remove some litter which had blown into the bushes.

Other than that, she was stumped.

Gazing helplessly at the long grass and untidy flower-beds, she decided there and then to ask around for a gardener.

Abandoning the hateful task, she sat down with her laptop to have a look at some of her possible career choices.

She was soon engrossed and it was only when she began to feel hungry again that she became aware of how quickly the time had passed.

She’d have to hurry to be ready in time for her “date” with Phil.

With the distinct feeling of déjà vu, she hurried upstairs to change.

Phil was already at the Beehive when she arrived and so deep in thought that he didn’t notice her enter.

Evelyn was struck by how much he seemed to have aged since she last saw him, which could only have been four months ago.

He looked tired, too – very tired. She wondered if that was how he’d see her. Ageing and tired.

Pushing aside this rather depressing thought, she walked over to him, wondering whether he’d requested where they’d be sitting or whether it was pure coincidence that this was what they’d always called “their table”.

“Evelyn! You look great!” Phil stood up and his whole face lit up at her approach.

“Hello, Phil. I hope you haven’t been waiting long.” Her voice sounded strained even to her own ears.

She couldn’t help feeling that there was something surreal about this situation.

Here she was, dressed in her best clothes, joining her soon-to-be officially ex-husband for a meal at what used to be their special table in their favourite restaurant.

By the time the food arrived, however, the two of them had slipped back into the patterns of behaviour which can only be reached through years of shared history.

It was comfortable, sitting here again with Phil.

Yet there was also something different about it – as if both of them were paying a little more attention, making a little more effort.

How easy it was for people to forget why they’d wanted to be together in the first place.

“Remember when we were always like this?”

Surprise shot through Evelyn at the way Phil’s words echoed her thoughts.

“Yes . . .” she murmured.

“I wish things could have stayed that way with us.”

“It – it’s always sad when things don’t work out,” she agreed, “but it’s in the past now. We’ve moved on –”

“We don’t have to,” he interrupted and she eyed him warily.

“What do you mean?”

Phil was silent for a moment, then rushed on.

“Have you ever thought that we could move back instead of moving on?”

“What are you talking about?” She gasped.

“I’m talking about us,  – getting back together.”

He reached out and took her hand in his.

“I’m still in love with you, Evelyn. I want to start again.”


To be continued…

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