This story features some of my favourite characters (of my own) of all time, from my short story A Rocky Road, which is published by Ether Books.
It was one day in Spring when, by some miracle, the children were playing harmoniously. She sat on the park bench and smiled to herself, wondering where he was, what he was doing, if he was with someone.
Of course he’s with someone she chastised herself. A man like that would never be lonely.
She watched the roundabout spin, fighting the urge to rush and grab the rail to slow it down. They have to learn by their mistakes. And as that thought crossed her synapses, Thomas slipped and fell, his cries piercing her to the core. She ran and almost tripped; steadying herself as she neared her goal.
“Come on, Thomas, you’ll be okay,” she soothed, kissing his palm. And magically that kiss healed everything. He leapt back on the equipment before she’d finished wiping the snotty tears from his face.
Returning slowly to the bench, she wished her own mother could be there to kiss her heart and heal it that way. She thought of him again, probably on the other side of the planet, playing arenas. And there she was; a single parent of two, her husband in Barbados with his new girlfriend; his former secretary, even though he’d always maintained he was never one for cliché.
She closed her eyes and began to hum a guitar riff… the one she’d heard as she stared at him that night as he owned the stage. Five years had passed yet it felt like seconds. She opened her eyes, took out her purse and removed a scrap of paper, so worn it felt like material.
Don’t be stupid, he’d have changed his phone number by now, she thought angrily. She tucked that piece of paper back inside her wallet as if it was a baby scan image.
“Thomas! Natalie! Time for hot chocolate!” she yelled, and as her children squealed in delight she gathered them up in her arms, span them around, and then placed them back on the grass. Grabbing each of them by a hand, she led them in the direction of the café.