Members June Stories

A reminder last week’s prompts were …

  1. The Flat Tyre
  2. Friend or Foe?
  3. Back to square one

 

 

The Oddity Shop – Part Two
By Olivia Masterfield

 

The shopkeeper smiled at the postcard fondly, admiring the image of the happy, newlywed Becky and Sarah as he read their thanks for helping Becky pick such a beautiful ring for her bride. It was rare for a past customer to thank him for helping them find wares, even rarer to receive a postcard that was addressed in a way that made him feel like he were a part of a family or friend circle.

 

He was so preoccupied with the postcard that he barely realised that a customer had walked in. He only came to realise when he heard the sound of something fall over and a young voice cursing under their breath. Startled, he looked up and placed the postcard beneath the desk.

 

Fussing over a knocked over, and thankfully not damaged, rocking horse was a young woman with a bright pink pixie cut, a long yellow dress and tattoos all over her arms akin to the French rococo style. She looked over at the shopkeeper and smiled apologetically as she made her way over to the desk. “Sorry, I knocked over your horse. It’s a little dark here and the sun was a little bright outside.”

 

“No harm done,” he assured her, glancing over at the horse just to be sure. “I am quite the understanding fellow when it comes to accidents. Anyhow, welcome to the Oddity Shop! What can I help you with today?”

 

The woman shyly rubbed her hands together, seeking some comfort from what he could tell, before digging into the tote bag on her shoulder. She retrieved a small pile of paper and placed them down on the desk, avoiding eye contact as she did. Curious he picked the papers up, and was astonished at what it was.

 

“My name is Blythe Collins,” the woman introduced herself with further shyness. “I recently moved into the city and I liked the look of this shop. So I was wondering if you had any positions open?”

 

He looked through the resume and CV thoroughly. What he found interested him more than the woman before him. Eventually he placed them down and smiled at her. “Excellent. It has been a very long time since someone last applied to work here. It just so happens I am free to hold an interview now. Are you free for one?”

 

Blythe nodded eagerly, smiling back at him.

 

The shopkeeper climbed over the desk, surprising Blythe, and swiftly switched the door sign to ‘closed’ before leaping back over the desk and offering to help Blythe over. She politely declined and carefully climbed over; seemingly glad her skirt was long enough to conceal anything unpleasant. Once she was over, he opened a door and led her down a narrow hallway decorated with rainbow wallpaper and neon zig zag carpet.

 

The walk to the break room wasn’t too long- at least for the shopkeeper, They walked a good few metres toward a door, and that door had stairs leading up to another floor. Upon reaching that floor they walked through a smaller hall with zigzag wallpaper and rainbow carpet until at last reaching a small room with a blocky table and lawn chairs.

 

“Have a seat!” he beamed, casually falling into a random lawn chair. Blythe was hesitant, but soon slowly lowered herself into a seat across from him. “Before we begin, would you like a drink? Coffee? Tea? Watermelon water?”

 

“I’m good thanks,” Blythe answered, shifting a little in her seat. She glanced around for a moment and looked back at the shopkeeper with a small smile. “I must say this place kinda lives up to its name. It’s quite…odd.”

 

“Why thank you Miss Collins! I am glad you like my little shop. It’s been in my family for quite a while- five generations to be precise!”

 

She stared at him in astonishment before smiling once more. He leaned back into his seat as he pondered the best questions to ask. Once he had them arranged and prepared he leaned upright and adjusted his moustache. “Do you like magic?” he asked.

 

“Pardon?”

 

“Magic! How do you feel about it?”

 

Blythe thought over the question carefully. “I like it quite a lot,” she answered. “I used to want to be a magician as a kid and I do enjoy fantasy movies and novels every now and then. But if you don’t mind me asking-”

 

“No need, I understand these are not the professional interview mould,” he answered quickly with a shrug. “But we at the oddity shop do things a little…differently. We embrace different things. Now, do you like illusions?”

 

“I-I do?” she answered, relaxing into her seat.

 

“Good. Very good,” he said with much delight. “Now tell me about yourself? Worts and all, unless it’s uncomfortable. What brought you to the city and humble city at the young age of twenty-seven?”

 

Blythe raised her brow and looked him over curiously. He imagined she would indeed be taken aback at the comment. Despite the butler look and pencil moustache, he did in fact look maybe a year shy of her own age. In truth, he was a good nine years older. Much older if one were to take into account his mannerisms and persona.

 

“Well,” she began. “I grew up in the system. My mother was barely out of high school when she had me, and gave me away. Unfortunately I did not have a good run with other families and did do some things that I regret, but eventually I was adopted by a family who loved me and shaped who I am now. They were a young couple themselves, and loved the rockerbelly aesthetic enough that it rubbed off on me.

 

“It was thanks to them I got a good job and got a good apartment. As far as anyone is concerned, they were my parents. Unfortunately my father passed away. But before he did he mentioned this shop. He said he met mum here briefly and they started dating. It gave me an idea, so I moved here and, well, here I am.”

 

The shopkeeper nodded along with the story. Even though she was happy, his heart ached for her past. Once she was done he smiled softly and leaned forward. “I am sorry for your loss, but its good that he made sure you were happy before he went. I am not used to comforting people so I hope my words help.”

 

“Oh don’t worry sir,” she replied, wiping brewing tears from her eyes. “It’s better off my chest than on.”

 

“I am sure it is. Now, before I give my verdict- do you have any questions for me?”

 

Blythe thought again, then shrugged. “I guess only one; what’s your name? I feel rude for not asking earlier.”

 

The shopkeeper’s smile grew and excitement shot through his veins. “My name? Why, it’s Alarick! Alarick Seawright!”

 

Like a spring, he shot up to his feet and approached Blythe, sticking his hand out. “And I am happy to declare that you are hired!”

 

“Hired?” she stammered. “But…doesn’t that usually take some time?”

“Nope, not here,” he chuckled. “At the oddity shop we do things differently. After all, it wouldn’t be the oddity shop would it?”

 

“I suppose not. Thank you for this Boss. When do I start/”

 

“Oh you start now,” he said casually. “Meet me in the shop when you’re ready!”

 

 

THE FLAT TYRE
By Gary Ireland

Geoff Gorman manoeuvred his car slowly from the parking area to the tyre repair shop two blocks away, well aware that, with his front passenger side tyre as flat as it indeed was, to travel at anything more than a crawl would damage either it or the rim. He cursed his luck, as he wanted to be back at the office in time for the afternoon review meeting, but at the same time was relieved that he had noticed the problem when he returned to his car after lunch, as the consequences of driving along the motorway with a tyre in that condition could be dire indeed.

The mechanic’s words were hardly encouraging: the rim of the wheel was in need of repair. “It’s all these deep potholes after this heavy rain. They dent the rims, so that the tyre slow leaks and before you know it you’ve got a flat. We can repair the dints alright- costs seventy bucks- but it takes a few days. We lend you a replacement, of course.”

“That’s fine. How long before you can have me back on the road?”

The workshop was busy, so that they could not get to it for at least an hour but after that it would take only a few minutes to put on the replacement wheel and he could be on his way. He rang the office to explain his delay and then was faced with the problem of how to fill in what would probably be ninety minutes in a nondescript shopping centre. A fifteen-minute stroll along the main street was sufficient to confirm that there was nothing of interest to be seen in the shops except for a rather attractive recliner chair in the furniture shop, optimistically designated an emporium despite its limited size- and he had no desire for a recliner chair. With well over half an hour to go, another coffee seemed the only solution.

The coffee shop he entered had an attractive ambience with a long display counter set off by olive green walls adorned with an array of photographs, some to his surprise autographed by minor celebrities of the kind one sees on day-time television and who had been photographed with the proprietor. Most of the serving was done by a pair of attractive young women but the man in the photographs could be seen bustling about, joking with customers and ensuring that the service was friendly and efficient. On observing a meal which was being delivered, Geoff felt some regret that he had not eaten there rather than just grabbed a convenient Big Mac.

As he hesitated at the display case, undecided whether to order a lemon meringue tart or a fruit flan, the proprietor approached him and, after eliciting his order, asked, “You wouldn’t be Geoff Gorman by any chance, would you?”

In answering to the affirmative, Geoff studied the man- stocky, a generous mouth with impressive teeth, receding black hair greying at the temples, but fluid and graceful in his movements. No, he did not know him.

The man smiled, displaying those big teeth, and remarked, “It’s good to see someone from the old days. After I left school I had a few years in England and my parents moved away from Pagewood, so I lost touch with all the crowd from school.”

A few years in England! Geoff suddenly knew him and was struck by the extraordinary modesty of the statement. This was the great Peter Campaniero who had captained the Combined Catholic Colleges in their annual Soccer match against the GPS and starred for a few seasons in the Sydney competition before being picked up by one of the English sides (was it Chelsea?). He had even been selected for the Socceroos World Cup team but then misfortune had struck. An opponent’s tackle had gone terribly wrong, not only breaking Peter’s leg but snapping two ligaments beyond the capacity of the surgery of twenty years ago to repair, thus ending his career.

The two o’clock lull between lunchtime and afternoon tea was settling in, so that only a few customers remained. Peter looked around and offered, “How about I give you a coffee and a pecan tart on the house, and we have a chat about old times.” Geoff was nonplussed and uncomfortable about the arrangement but saw that it was impossible to refuse: in any case, what had happened back when they were in their HSC year at St. Pat’s was almost thirty years down the track.

Although by the time they were at the school, there were few teaching Brothers remaining and by far the majority of the staff were secular, the old Irish hegemony of its early days remained in place. The honour boards listing the academic honours, the sporting champions and the school captains were filled with the names of boys whose ancestors had imbibed of the waters of the Liffey, the Shannon or the Boyne. While there was a small contingent of students from southern Europe- mainly Italians or Croats- and also some Vietnamese, they remained invisible in the school’s publications and at honours assemblies. Radic Miladic may have reached the final of the Herald public speaking contest and Johnny Nguyen was far and away the school’s chess champion but their achievements never drew the fulsome praise and rapturous applause on assemblies that Kenny Seary received for his victories in handball. Handball!

And then there was Peter- Pietro as he was then known. The sports organizers made no secret that they regarded Soccer as an inferior game: Brother Stanislaus, one of the few left of the old Christian Brothers order openly referred to it as wogball. Consequently, Peter’s brilliance was downplayed, so it was mooted amongst the staff who arbitrated on such matters that he was, in fact, a minor talent whose inadequacies would be on plain display if he dared take himself out of his little ghetto sport and play a real game like Rugby League.

Matters came to a head at the final Year 12 assembly when the academic, sporting and school service awards were handed out. Geoff, as a capable wicket-keeper and match winning Rugby League centre, was a candidate for the Sportsman of the Year award, and desperately coveted it. However, he knew in his heart that he was not in the same class as the captain of the Combined Catholics who was now contracted to a Sydney first grade team and who had supported the school by coaching the under fourteens, so he was resigned to receiving some kind words and then watching Peter stride in triumph across the stage to receive his award. Consequently, he almost missed hearing his invitation to the rostrum. He had leapt in triumph and exultantly waved the trophy above his head, regaining his composure just in time to see Peter leave his seat and walk determinedly up the aisle and out of the hall.

There had been mutterings amongst the students and the staff about Peter’s “bad sportsmanship” but, possessed with an athlete’s capacity for ruthless analysis of one’s performance, Geoff had faced the truth. His receiving the award was a set-up purposed to put in his place the uppity newcomer who thought he was better than he was. Consequently, although his father placed the award on the lounge-room mantlepiece and drew the attention of friends to it, he could scarcely bring himself to look at it.

The lull was coming to an end and Peter was eyeing the counter, anxious to get back to business. But he hesitated, until the words came tumbling out. “Saint Pats was a great place for some of us.” The he added, “People like you, the Micks. It wasn’t always like that for us Wogs. The system was loaded against us. The school was for Roman Catholics but the Irish mafia that ran the place had little time for us Romans.

“I’m sorry for my dummy spit when you were given the sportsman’s award. You were always a good sport- played fair, played hard- and you deserved to enjoy your victory, but the years of being put-down just got to me. Anyway, over time I got my share of awards and they just sit in a cabinet at the dark end of the hallway. Gotta go: the customers are waiting.”

Geoff watched him take up his position behind the counter. He was glad that the flat tyre had allowed Peter and him to lance the boil which had festered in each of them for over twenty years.

 

 

Ancient Mist by Susan Schrader

 

A mist has crept in overnight

Bringing mystery and chill.

I hear the birds call

From veiled trees

And hold a moment of thrill,

Seeking a knowing in the lost

Light that dims the distant hills.

 

Faint movement catches in an eye’s edge

and I sense the depth of dreaming

in this early morning steaming,

an ancient land lies beneath me

and the mist is ancient still,

it lifts and falls, heaving it’s wispy vapour,

a whisper in the dawn

that says “I have seen it all.”

a sigh at the end of night

that cries for what is lost,

for what is being lost.

 

The ancient land stands veiled,

Gondwanan Valleys carved through Gondwanan hills,

Trees that have stood

Shedding leaves and seeds

So the forest holds its own,

Home to bird song,

Twitter and chitter in the misty morning.

 

The mist that has seen it all,

Rising and falling since before time was called time.

I stand on tarred roads,

The crushing reality of bricks and mortar,

Breathing the mist,

Trying to fathom the “all” it has seen,

Sensing the mourning for what it has seen lost,

Knowing we must persevere if we are to preserve,

So the sigh at the end of night

Is a whisper of delight.

 

 

 

THE GIFT By Ken Morrell

 

They had everything in place. All had been organised for a smooth run. The last thing they wanted, or allowed for, was a flat tyre, but here they were on the side of the busy motorway looking down at one. Luckily, when Dad had first bought the little green Hyundai for Becky he had given her full instructions on its maintenance. How to check the oil and water (she had been amazed that an engine needed water) where the petrol went in and how to change a tyre. It was just as well too for it took Dad half an hour to remove the hubcap! Even with all his tools. In the end he worked out how it was done and Becky had to complete the job: learning what direction to turn the wheel nuts and where the spare was kept. In the boot no less. Underneath the boot mat. She would never have found it without Dad’s lesson. Becky learnt more about cars in that afternoon than she had learnt all her life.

So on the afternoon when Becky’s little car ran over something nasty on the freeway and Simone started freaking out, her friend was able to assure her that all was in hand. Becky knew what to do. She raised the boot mat, hauled out the jack and the red triangle and instructed Simone on where to place it well down the highway. While she was there Becky studied the parcel hidden beneath the boot mat. She had been instructed by Danny to hide it in the spare tyre recess so no one would find it but Becky was unsure. To her that seemed really dodgy. She picked up the parcel and simply tossed it onto the back seat hesitating before throwing an old jumper at it.  With that she returned to the boot and began unscrewing the holding nut on the spare. It wouldn’t budge.

“Uh Oh!” Exclaimed Simone. Both young ladies turned to watch a police cruiser slide slowly up behind them. Undeterred Becky reached for the car jack and positioned it in front of the flat rear wheel. The two police officers simply sat in their car and watched them. No doubt checking their registration and car ownership details. Simone was beginning to freak out

“What are we going to do?” she worried.

“Change the tyre. We have a flat. We have to change it. Get on with it” Becky instructed sharply.

The police officers emerged from their car and wandered closer, hands resting comfortably over their guns and handcuffs. They were a handsome pair of devils with fashionable designer stubble and shave sided haircuts.

“Flat tyre?” the tall one enquired.

“Yup” replied Becky as she wound up the jack.

“Need a hand?” he continued.

“Nope” said Simone sharply “Becky knows what to do.”

“Actually” interjected Becky “we do need a big strong knight in shining armour. I can’t unscrew the spare tyre. It’s too tight.”

Simone looked alarmed but the tall officer simply drawled over his shoulder to his partner “Job for you I reckon.” Then he returned his attention to the pretty young lady before him and asked in an innuendo laden tone “would you like me to unscrew those nuts? Before you get the tyre off the ground and it spins around?”

A million saucy replies raced each other through Becky’s mind but she opted for safety “Thank you. That would be lovely.” She smiled at him giving her best impression of a damsel in distress. As he took the wheel spanner the officer glanced through the car window at the parcel only partially covered by the old jumper on the back seat.

“Going to a party?” he commented, noticing the brightly wrapped present.

“My brother is celebrating his university graduation” Becky explained. Simone stood transfixed like a deer in the headlights knowing what was in that brightly coloured present.

“Excuse me” said the handsome officer as he hauled the spare from the boot and nearly knocked Simone with it. Leaving the scene to Becky she turned away and studied the far horizon.

The officers changed the tyre while Becky chatted on about the traffic whizzing past, how she was going to have to get Dad to cough up for the tyre repairs and if the officers had handed out any tickets that day. All of which they ignored.

“Right, it’s not safe to stay on the motorway for long even if you are in the safety lane” the tall one instructed when the job was done. “Move off carefully and have a good day. Enjoy the party” he indicated the present on the back seat.

“Oh thank you very much and we will have a marvellous time at the party” Becky grinned relieved.

 

 

 

 

THE GATHERER    by Ken Morrell

She had unlocked the gate and made her way some metres through so she was a person of authority. She had a key and a propriety demeanour.  I was heading back to my ute on the other side of the locked gate so she waited for me to approach. A well-tailored business suit covered a generous figure. To me she appeared to be an office worker. She stood there arms akimbo ready to give me a tongue lashing for some infringement of a Council regulation when she recognised me “Oh. It’s you” she said.

It was the woman from the Council office I had dealt with after they had awarded the company I worked for the contract for re-establishing the landscape surrounding the old rubbish tip. We had to plant local bushes and trees so the area looked just like it had before being a rubbish tip which meant the seeds had to be gathered locally. I was monitoring the locality to ascertain when the flora was flowering and when it was ready to pick for seed gathering.

“We’ve had reports of someone trespassing here, so I came down to see what was going on” she explained.

“Oh, sorry. Perhaps I should have called first and let you know I was going to be here” I apologised.

“It would be a good idea” she said. Talk about the hand of steel within the velvet glove. I had seen both from this woman in the last two minutes. She had a girl next door face with freckles across the nose and curly brown shoulder length hair. Practical hair. Hair that looked good but could be kept under control easily.

Trying to cover my embarrassment at the reprimand I went on to explain more of what I was doing and when the various flora were going to be ripe for harvest when a small boy of about four years old dressed in shorts and sneakers and a tee shirt with some sort of colourful monster on the front, emerged from her car and diffidently made his way through the gate to hold his mother’s hand. I expected her to berate him with “I told you to stay in the car” or similar but she merely looked down at him fondly and introduced him “this is Mark” she said.

“Hello Mark” I tried the cheery adult voice. “Have you been at school today?” but he merely looked up at me with his mother’s incredible soft brown eyes.  I was trying to remember her name but she had removed the tag she wore in the office and I wasn’t sure if it was Katrina or Katherine.

“So, when will you be back to gather the seeds?” she enquired.

“Over a period of time” I explained. “Different varieties mature at different times so I’ll be making several trips here to gather all the seed we need” and I went on to point out the trees that were flowering now and those that were about to burst into blossom.

“Rick isn’t it?” she enquired. I nodded acknowledgment as she placed her hand on her chest and reminded me “Lillian”. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was glad I had not tried to ‘wing it’ and guessed. I nodded, pretending a memory I did not have.

All the while Mark stared at me with an intensity that would have been unsettling if not in the presence of his mother. I had little experience of children and what little I did have was bad. To tell the truth they frightened me a bit but I needed to forge some sort of bridge with this woman for she could make life difficult or easy, so I glanced at her son,

“Would you like a feather?” I asked him, reaching into my pack and removing a long brown feather with white stripes all down its length until they culminated in a dark brown tip. I rolled it in my fingers making it flip in circles as if to study it from all angles.

“It was given to me by a Hawk. I saw him land in that tree over there and I called out to him ‘Hawk – what is it like to fly?’  And he replied ‘Human, it is wondrous. It is freedom and you can see all living things on the earth below. Try it – lift up your arms and fly.’ ‘I have no feathers’ I replied. ‘I will need feathers to fly.’ Then he said ‘take this feather for I have many feathers’ and with that he flew away leaving this feather to float down to me but what he didn’t realise is that you need many feathers to fly, not just one. But he only gave me one so I cannot use it. Do you want it? It’s very beautiful.” I noticed his mother frown with concern. Obviously a mothers worry that the item was diseased or lice ridden or in some other way may injure her child. Once again I reached into my pack bringing out a rag and wiped the snowy white spine before offering it to the boy. His brown eyes, so like his mothers, glanced up at her for permission. Her head bobbed once in approval and he took the feather from me and studied it intensely.

“He’s a very serious little boy” I commented to Lillian.

She considered me while a small smile played about her face “so you talk to birds” she observed.

“Only when they talk to me” I smiled back. The ice was broken so I forged ahead “I am heading down town for a coffee. Can I buy you one?”

She smiled knowingly “I must get Mark back home. Perhaps another time.” Her deferral, given with a smile, softened the sting of her next words “Just ring next time you visit. Then I will know who is trespassing.”

I was bold, and brave, and cheeky “Then you can come down again and check on me.” I gave her a grin not knowing how that was going to be received.

“Yes” she said with a smile. “Yes I can, can’t I?” She turned and led Mark back to her car with the boy twirling the feather experimentally just as I had done. I watched as she clicked him into his booster seat, got behind the wheel and turned the vehicle. She stopped and through the open window called “Close the gate when you are finished.”

I waved acknowledgment as she drove off leaving a drift of dust. I noticed she was not wearing a ring on her finger and I wondered if she was married.

FRIEND OR FOE  by Judy Norris

 

Issy was having great difficulty in suppressing the laugh she knew she’d have no control over if Sarah insisted on castigating her in such a serious manner. “It is unfathomable that, a supposedly intelligent individual could fail to convey such a simple message, Isobel!”

 

It was the ‘Isobel’ that did it. Even when she was a child and her mother had reached a stage of frustration or anger, that she resorted to using Issy’s birth name, she always had an uncontrollable urge to laugh. It was totally masochistic and made no sense. Nevertheless, it was a reflex reaction that followed her into adulthood and was about to manifest itself in a way that would probably not be helpful.

 

“You knew how disappointed I was that James wasn’t able to celebrate my birthday with me, so why on earth would you sabotage things when he’d gone to such lengths for that not to be the case? Just imagine how awful it would have been for him, sitting in that pub with a huge bunch of flowers and a bottle of champagne on ice, for over an hour, waiting for me to turn up!”

 

If the use of her full name wasn’t enough to provoke the lip twitching to escalate, the scene Sarah had just sketched opened the flood gates and Issy burst into laughter. “For goodness’ sake, Sarah, I didn’t do it on purpose and you have to admit, even if the humour to be found in the situation is schadenfreude, it’s funny.”

 

“I admit nothing of the sort, Issy.”

 

Issy knew reverting to the more friendly contraction of her name meant Sarah was calming down and, when she also allowed a smile to creep across her face, there was hope that their friendship could be salvaged.

 

Issy and Sarah had been flat mates for almost two years and work colleagues for three. They rarely argued, which was quite an achievement given they spent so much time together. They were both employed in the School of Philosophy, Politics and Ancient History at Macquarie University. Sarah was the administration officer in Ancient History and Issy the Philosophy professor’s executive assistance. Working in separate disciplines meant they weren’t together 24/7 during the working day but they would usually car pool for the commute to and from the University and they often met up at lunch time. They were also the other half of ISIS, a group of four female administration staff members who had bonded, in the last twelve months, through sharing similar interests they would pursue together some weekends and/or evenings.

The most popular of which was attending Happy Hour at the local pub on a Friday night. The name ISIS had come about firstly, from their given name initials: Isobel, Sarah, Isla and Siobhan and secondly, they liked the idea of the group being called after a goddess, who was known for her healing, protection and magic qualities. They would often put the world to rights during Happy Hour and definitely saw themselves as ‘protectors’ of the academic staff when the students tried to penetrate the wall, they were all capable of erecting when necessary. The magic they performed, in any single day of the working week, was there for all to see!

The reason for Sarah’s initial anger with Issy was that she had told Sarah James was in fact able to take her out for a birthday dinner after all. He’d managed to reschedule his work commitment and said he would meet her at the King’s Head at 7pm. Issy told Sarah the venue was the King’s Arms, a totally different pub the other side of the city. Apparently, he’d called Issy when he couldn’t reach Sarah and he wanted to check that they hadn’t made other arrangements before he made a booking at the pub.

 

The incorrect conveying of James’ message, from Issy to Sarah, in itself wouldn’t have bothered Sarah so much, had it been the first time she’d detected that something wasn’t quite right about the way Issy had accepted James. In fact, she wasn’t sure Issy had ‘accepted’ James as a recent part of Sarah’s life. Apart from the fact that he encroached on what Issy felt was a way of life that didn’t need any additional people in it, James was in the same class as Issy in high school and they had taken an instant dislike to each other. Issy was floored when Sarah arrived home one Sunday afternoon, with her new love interest, to introduce him to Issy and enjoy a movie and popcorn night for everyone to get acquainted.

 

Issy had recognized James straight away but 10 years had passed since their school days. Issy had lost a lot of weight in that time and the long mousey coloured hair had been replaced by a short blonde foiled pixie cut. She’d decided not to enlighten James or Sarah on that first Sunday evening but subsequent social gatherings, including an inebriated post work Happy Hour, with Siobhan and Isla, meant more background stories came to light. They included former alma mater disclosures and eventually, the jig saw pieces fitted together and the light bulb moment for James occurred. Unlike Issy, James thought the connection was all very serendipitous and espoused love and light, along with Sarah. It didn’t take long for Sarah to realise this was not reciprocated by Issy.

 

So now we have two people, who until the arrival of James, had a fantastic work, living and friendship relationship and, because one of those two people resented it being usurped by an outsider and, worse than that, an outsider who she labelled with previous prejudices. Did this mean the friendship was doomed? Enter Siobhan, who also attended the same high school as Issy and James and was in the same class. She was aware of the animosity between the pair but could see that James had either buried the hatchet or, in tune with his gender, had totally forgotten there was a problem and was blissfully getting on with his life. As an integral part of ISIS, Siobhan saw this a time to call on the goddess’ attributes and put both healing and perhaps a bit of magic into play. It took a one-on-one lunch with Issy and a rather nice bottle of Pinot Grigio, to convince Issy, if she valued her friendship with Sarah, it was time to move on from whatever the problem was she had with James at school and to put her own selfish disappointments behind her. Yes, if James and Sarah were to make a go of things and became an ‘item’ it would mean life as she knew it would have to change for Issy. It was up to her whether that was a negative thing and her decision entirely, if she allowed what she had with Sarah to change from friend to foe. By the time they reached the end of the Pinot Grigio, Issy was thanking Siobhan for bringing her to her senses. Then she phoned Sarah to organise a movie and popcorn night with her and James.

 

 

 

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