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Mon, 28th Mar 2011 | batteredhaddock | Created on: originalshorts.com | 4,203 Views, 3 Nods.

THE LETTER

Albert stared absent mindedly into his coffee cup. He felt tired, the walk down to the post office had taken it out of him. He wondered what Brian, his son, would think when he reads the letter. Albert sighed a deep sigh and sipped at his coffee. It was stone cold. How long had he been sitting there? He looked at his watch and was surprised to see that it was four o'clock. He must start to think about something for his tea, but still he sat there deep in thought. The rattling of the letter box made him jump. The evening paper must have arrived. Slowly he got up from his armchair and walked stiffly into the hall. It was an effort for him to bend down and pick the paper off the mat, his rheumatism seemed to be getting worse every day, especially now the weather had turned so cold. Albert was a creature of habit, and every day since his retirement five years ago, he had eaten his tea at five o'clock prompt, but today he did not feel hungry. He walked back into his sitting-room and sat down again, the newspaper on his knee. He looked around the cosy room, everything in it was a constant reminder of his beloved Mabel, the honeymoon photograph on the sideboard, her highly polished brasses on the mantlepiece, the pack of playing cards, Mabel's favourite game. Albert drifted into a nostalgic dream. Mabel had always been a shrewd and careful woman, everything bought to last, but also with immaculate taste, a sensible hard working Yorkshire lass with a heart of pure gold. How he missed her, fifty years is a long time. At first, when she had gone, he didn't think he could carry on. She was not just his wife, she was his best friend, and they had done everything together, gone everywhere together. Their friends had tried to include him in their social circle, but he felt uncomfortable and out of place without Mabel, and he slowly began to lose touch with most of them. Only Jack, and his sister Grace, would not take no for an answer, they had remained loyal and trusted friends. Kind and considerate, they were both there when he needed them. Jack shared Albert's love of football, and occasionally they would go and watch their local lads play, armed with hot drinks that Grace would make for them. Albert suddenly awoke from his reverie, he noticed that it was almost dark outside. Shocked, he jumped up from his chair, the unopened newspaper falling to the floor, he had not had his tea, what was he thinking of. Albert made himself a boiled egg, some bread and butter, and a pot of tea. He was not hungry, but he knew he must make an effort. Mabel would have thought that he was lazy, she was such a good cook. "A boiled egg is for breakfast not tea", she would have said. He smiled to himself as he thought about the bonny woman he had spent most of his life with. Albert ate the meal with disinterest, and then methodically washed and dried the few dishes, putting them away tidily before returning to his armchair. Normally he would watch the early news on the television about this time, but today was not a normal day for Albert. He looked at the photograph of his son on the mantlepiece, a dark haired, handsome face smiled back at him. He looked so much like Mabel, everyone thought so. Albert sat and fretted, he was uncertain about Brian's reaction when he reads the letter. He turned the television on, and then immediately turned it off again, he could not concentrate. Eventually he went to bed knowing full well that his son would telephone him in the morning. Albert awoke very early. It was dark outside, and raining hard. It was an effort for him to get out of bed, his rheumatism was always worse first thing in the morning. How he hated being on his own, and then he remembered the letter. Perhaps he wouldn't be on his own much longer, it all depended on Brian. When Albert had finished his breakfast, and tidied up, he stood gazing out of the kitchen window at the rain pouring down, washing away the food he had put out for the birds. What a miserable day. The telephone rang, and he began to tremble. He hurried as best he could to answer it, but it was only Jack checking to see if he was alright. He told him that he was fine, and hoped he sounded it! He didn't want his old friend to know that he had written to Brian, if possible, he didn't want anyone to know. Albert went into his sitting-room and picked up the unopened paper from the previous evening. He sat down and tried to read, but still he could not concentrate. His mind was on his son. He knew Brian had big problems of his own, including a flighty wife who was forever leaving him, and then returning whenever the mood took her, but he was only young, surely now, at his time of life, his fathers needs should come first. When the telephone rang again, Albert felt glued to his chair, part of him wished he had not written to Brian. With a trembling hand he picked up the receiver and heard the familiar voice of his son. "Hello Dad" said Brian, "thanks for your letter". Albert held his breath, "I'm sorry you've been so miserable" Brian continued, "I really have been very selfish". Albert's spirits rose. "So, I am putting Mum on the 12.30 train, she will be with you by tea time." Suddenly it was the most beautiful day imaginable to Albert, his Mabel was coming home at last, after two long months away. He almost skipped into the kitchen. Now, what should they have for tea?

                


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Wed, 30th Mar 2011
Many thanks for your kind comments MamaP & MasterSignwriter they are much appreciated! I am currently compiling another short story which will be called 'Babylove'.
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Tue, 29th Mar 2011
Heartwarming story BH. Lovely.
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Tue, 29th Mar 2011
Sometimes its the simple things in life that make them worth living, you highlight this perfectly BH. Really enjoyed this.
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