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Part 1 of the short story this week relates to relationships, and the difficulties of dealing with mental domestic abuse. Part 2 next week.
Escaping the Storm. Part 1
‘It looks like it’s snowing.’
‘Big deal. This isn’t the Bahamas. What do you expect?’
‘I was only saying. There’s no need to be snippy about it.’
‘Maybe if you engaged brain now and again you might speak some sense. What’s for dinner?’
‘You said you were eating out tonight.’
‘I said “Going out,” or don’t you understand English anymore? If you can’t be bothered to cook, I’ll have something out. Don’t wait up.’
Whenever I tried to talk to him lately it was always the same. He’d make some sarcastic remark then change the subject. The door slammed behind him and I took a deep breath. The ironing glared at me, but ignoring it I picked up the phone to order a pizza, so I could spend a few hours on the book I was secretly writing. I’d shown Greg the first few chapters but received only ridicule.
‘This is rubbish. What makes you think you could be a writer? You live in a dream world girl. Stick to what you should be doing, like cleaning this place up. Even a useless lump like you should be able to handle a duster and a bit of polish.’
A knock at the door interrupted my thoughts, and I noticed the flakes of snow fluttering down in the icy wind.
‘I don’t envy you being out in this weather,’ I said to the pizza delivery man. ‘It looks as if there’s a lot more waiting to come down.’
‘You’re my last delivery tonight. The forecast was bad, so I’m off to put my feet up and slob in front of the TV before it gets any worse. Enjoy your meal.’
With the curtains drawn it was warm and cosy in the living room, especially after I changed into my dressing gown while I worked on my book. It wasn’t until I got up to make a coffee that I saw the snow had settled, covering the lawn. It looked beautiful but made me wonder if Greg would have a problem getting home. The late-night news was worrying.
‘The Meteorological office have announced sever weather warnings for most of the country,’ the news reader proclaimed. ‘The recent high winds coupled with storms sweeping in from Siberia are likely to cause the lowest May temperatures since records began. The rescue services have already reported double the usual number of call-outs for this time of year. Unless your journey is essential you are advised not to travel.’
I peered out the back window into the garden. At this time of night it would normally be pitch black, but the reflected layer of white illuminated the scene as if it was mid-day. The trees with their spring-blossomed branches stood stark as black rods against a winter wonderland. The only sound was the gusting wind rattling the dustbins, and bouncing discarded rubbish along the road running behind the house. When the wind died down, the thick snow blocked out every other noise, leaving behind an eerie silence.
No word from Greg. I would have expected him home by now. Perhaps he was having trouble getting a cab, but at least it gave me more time to work on my manuscript. It was difficult to concentrate, expecting to hear the door slam open at any moment, and be berated for not clearing away the debris of my meal. With a sigh I went into the kitchen to tidy up, then tried to phone him to see what was happening. There was no signal. Perhaps he had tried to contact me, and not been able to get through. For a while I dithered, waiting for that tell-tale sound of his key in the door.
The road was now invisible under a carpet of snow, and even if he managed to get a taxi, I doubted they would venture out this far. He would have to walk from the main road, about twenty minutes away. Two o’clock. Perhaps he had done the sensible thing and stayed overnight with a friend. I worked steadily for another hour then went to bed, my emotions a mixture of concern, and pleasure at having the duvet to myself.
With the typical contrariness of British weather, I woke the following morning to sunshine blazing through the curtains. It was already gone ten, and no sooner had I thrown on some clothes than there was a ring at the front door. Dashing to answer it I dreaded the comments from Greg about sleeping in so late, until I realised he would have used his key. It was the postman.
‘Morning love. Parcel for you. Been buying anything nice?’
‘Morning George. Thanks. Would you believe summer sandals? Typical me. That wind hasn’t lost its bite; it looks lovely from indoors though.’
‘Yeah, it’s a bit nippy alright. The main roads are fairly clear but be careful if you go out. The pavements are like an ice rink in some places.’
‘That’s one advantage of working from home. And I’m pretty well stocked up, so I should be OK for a few days.’
‘Just as well. The supermarket shelves are pretty empty. Let’s hope the delivery trucks get through soon. You take care now.’
‘And you. Bye George.’
Although there was now a signal on my mobile Greg didn’t answer when I called him. Was he in trouble, or just being awkward? I left a message, then wandered around the house trying to decide what to do. With the ironing done and the house tidied I went to take the dustbins out, but unless the weather changed drastically overnight, I couldn’t see the refuse lorry making the collection. Not even one set of tyre tracks disturbed the pristine white, stretching as far as the eye could see. The sun had disappeared behind a solid grey sky, and as I hastily returned to the warmth indoors, more damp flakes floated in the icy wind.
Still nothing from Greg. I sent another message, and a few minutes later received a reply.
‘Busy. Staying here. See you in a few days.’
To be continued.
Copyright April 2018
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