The Wooden Heart – Episode 16

“So you really have moved to the cottage?” Gabrielle asked.

“A couple of days ago,” Ash replied. “We’re still sorting things out. I told Dad we should have done the decorating and refurbishing before we moved, but he was in such a hurry. Are you the violinist Dad drove to the hospital a couple of weeks ago?”

“Ex-violinist.” Gabrielle sighed. “Not from the fall I had, but the car accident before that.”

She turned her left hand over, cupped, as if playing the violin.

“The accident damaged both bones and tendons, leaving my hand too tight and stiff to play.”

She moved her fingers slowly, clumsily. They clenched into a frustrated fist.

“That’s so sad,” Ash said. “What do you do now?”

“Ash!” Stephen exclaimed.

Gabrielle laughed.

“Not at all,” she said. “I’m working in a charity shop two or three days a week in Galashiels.” Her smile turned wry.

“There’s not much that a professional musician can do if something stops them from making music. And you, Ash – are you the bright future of design, like your father told me?”

Ash shook her head.

“No way!” She laughed. “I’ve just graduated and got myself a place for a studio. I’ll be trying out different things there to see where my interests take me.” She shrugged. “I’m still taking my first steps away from the protection of the college.”

Gabrielle inclined her head.

“I wish you luck,” she said. “Luck to go with the talent your dad sees in you. Just as all dads should.”

“Thank you.” Ash smiled. “Have you tried a physio to see if he can get your fingers working properly again?”

“Yes,” Gabrielle said. “It seemed to make things worse. The car accident destroyed both my beautiful old violin and my career. Out of the two, the loss of the violin was more important.”

This discussion was moving too close to home. Gabrielle glanced out through the window.

“The sun has come out again,” she said, reaching for her bag. “It always does, even after the heaviest rain. I must get back to Franz. Let me pay for this.”

She knew they must be tight for money.

“Not at all,” Stephen said. “My turn.”

“You bought coffees at the hospital,” she protested.

“And you made me tea at your house.” He smiled. “So this is my round.”

They rose from the table.

“I’ll take it out of Ash’s pocket money,” he added.

“You can try,” Ash said.

Gabrielle laughed.

“Thank you. It’s been lovely to see you both, and the next round is mine.” She smiled at Stephen. “I have a witness.”

“Deal,” Stephen agreed.

“Goodbye, and thanks again,” Gabrielle said as she left.

As she reached the shop doorway, she heard Ash’s quiet voice behind her, saying something that she wasn’t meant to hear. It made her blush.

“What a nice lady,” Ash said. “I like her.”

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.