There’s Always Tomorrow – Episode 03

Sailesh Thakrar © The main characters from the story Illustration: Sailesh Thakrar

She had earned it and she would enjoy it. She would savour every day, starting from now. 

Walking briskly through to the hall stand where her coats were hanging, she picked the sturdiest and most waterproof coat. 

Wrapping a scarf round her neck, she shrugged into the coat. 

It weighed a ton, but had been bought as an investment for her new life in the great outdoors. 

Buttoning it up, she found a hat and pulled it over her greying hair. 

Which door should she open? The wind was on the front of her house, so the kitchen door would be in its lee. 

Lorna locked the front door and walked back through the house, feeling constricted by the coat and scarf. Her usual business clothes were in a charity shop. 

What she would never need again, she would leave for others – that was the mantra which had guided her selection of what she would bring with her into this new life. 

Opening the kitchen door, she staggered back as the swirling wind gave her a back-handed blow. 

She slipped quickly outside, locked the door and set off down the overgrown path to the front. 

The full force of the wind threatened to lift her off her feet and send her swirling away out of the garden and over the fields beyond. 

Lorna gritted her teeth and fought back: giving up was something she simply didn’t do. 

She struggled round the corner of the house down to the iron gate, then on to the deserted pavement of Auchencairn’s main street. 

The name had attracted her. It had brought her here on a late autumn day to see the pretty village, with its gentle hills and yellow wheat-stubbled fields stretching out on every side. 

She had bought the cottage, chased lawyers through its paperwork, counted off the hours, then driven here only yesterday. 

She’d supervised where the moving men laid her carpets and her furniture, before lighting the coal fire and working into the small hours, moving chairs, tables and wardrobes around until the house felt hers. 

Now, she had shopping to do, and enquiries to make about hiring a part-time gardener to help her bring the neglected garden under control and plant shrubs and flowers for spring growth. 

By midsummer, the cottage would be the house of her dreams: the vision which had kept her going through the last bitter months of trying to hold her school together, while cuts and Government statistics seemed determined to defeat the whole purpose of her life. 

That had been to take disadvantaged children, from the worst of home and parental conditions, and help each one to develop a purpose round which they could rebuild a life. 

Lorna battled up the empty village street. No-one else was out in the teeth of the storm. 

Having struggled up one side of the street she stopped, puzzled. 

She was nearing the last of the village’s houses and there was no shop. 

Surely there had to be a shop? 

Retracing her steps on the other side of the street, she passed a rundown little place, squeezed between two other properties. 

Once it had been a tiny shop, but now litter had gathered in the doorway. 

Its single window was covered in posters pasted on by travelling circuses or shows. 

She peered at their faded print. Three years of circuses. Had it been closed that long? 

She was turning away when her eye caught a newer notice stuck to the sheltered shop door, with what looked like strips of grey duct tape.

W. Johnston, Gardining And Repairs, followed by a phone number.

Lorna snorted. If she had her red pen, she would have corrected the spelling mistake from habit. 

She studied the notice. It was wet, certainly, but it hadn’t disintegrated. It must be relatively new. 

Lorna memorised the name and number, before letting the wind blow her back to her new home. She had a phone call to make. Then what? 

She grimaced. She would spend the first day of her new life looking for a supermarket from which she could buy provisions to last the week. But where was the nearest supermarket? 

With no-one around to ask, she would have to find out by herself. 

To be continued…

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