Under Two Shires Oak – Episode 38

INDIA! How the glowing colours would have thrilled her painter father Phil, Suzanne thought, as they stepped from the aircraft.

Tom had repeated his marriage proposal a few months later, and she’d accepted.

After all, her parents hadn’t had a long courtship, either. They’d run away in the snow! And look how happy they were.

So she and Tom were here for their next job, helping with the devastation following flooding in India, as man and wife. As a couple they’d been given larger accommodation than the rest of the team, who were mostly single. But it was still very basic, she reflected as she unpacked the little silver frame with the leaves from Two Shires Oak that her mum had given her when she’d first joined the aid organisation. It wasn’t for ever, though. Just as her parents, despite their adventures, had had a strong family life, so would they.

Tom was very well regarded in the organisation. Soon, she reckoned, he’d be offered one of the top jobs at head office and they’d then have a proper home. Then they could have children. Becoming a mother was something she was greatly looking forward to in due course. That was her expectation, her plan, if you like. But didn’t her dad always say life wasn’t a great respecter of people’s schemes?

Just weeks later, Suzanne discovered she was pregnant!

* * * *

“My money’s on Björn Borg,” Julia said, at the same time glancing towards her baby daughter Jessica, who lay in her Silver Cross pram by the open French windows.

Good, still sleeping. Julia loved Wimbledon, and it surely it wasn’t too much to ask to watch the match on the telly undisturbed! Though she knew that, if Jess did wake up, Marco would attend to her. He wasn’t keen on organised sport.

“Just turned twenty, that’s all Borg is,” she said as she settled down on the sofa beside her husband.

Then she laughed. She was sounding as though she was loads older, when she herself was only in her mid-twenties. But she supposed she’d changed the way she saw herself now she was a mother and wife to a doctor. They’d been thrilled when, having decided he wished to work in general practice, Marco got a place in a new medical centre near where Julia had grown up.

Jessica obligingly continued sleeping. But they were disturbed anyway, by a visitor. Julia didn’t mind. She liked her caller, a young woman called Alison, and had been looking forward eventually to having her and her fiancé, Steve, as neighbours. But then Something Had Happened and the engagement was now off. Steve’s doing, from what Alison had said. So they’d never be moving into the house a few doors down that they’d bought in anticipation of their marriage and had been eagerly doing up. Only half-renovated, it had been put back up for sale.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.