There was a young lady from Dover
Who found poetry no walk in the clover
I can’t do it, she wailed
And I am sure to have failed
That poem-less woman from Dover
There was a young lady from Dover
Who found poetry no walk in the clover
I can’t do it, she wailed
And I am sure to have failed
That poem-less woman from Dover
So here I stand
Before my time
I certainly am not late
But there is no St. Peter,
Standing at this gate
He should be here to meet me
My ticket said up, not down
But I am still standing here
with a puzzled frown
I stand here all alone,
in front of golden gates
Not sure of what I should do
not knowing what is my fate
Finally St Peter approaches
carrying a weighty tome.
He checks my name and kindly smiles
“My dear, you must go home.
“There has been a mix up,
whose fault I do not know
but you are still needed
on earth, far down below”
I turn to leave and see a woman
With such a familiar face
Quietly she tells me
“It is peaceful in this place
“It is not yet your time
as you have just been told,
But I will be waiting here for you,
when you are very old”
I look upon her face
and into big brown eyes
I know that look all too well,
and what her gaze implies
Clearly in my mind she says
looking deep in to my eyes
“While you hold us in your hearts,
No one ever dies ”
Sally stared at the blank page in front of her and sighed. She hated writing letters; always had done ever since the dreaded thank you notes she had penned as a child. This letter was different, if everything went to plan this would be the last letter she ever wrote. She had toyed with idea of typing the letter on her computer but really she wasn’t interested in having to go to the bother of finding her printer and printing it out. Somehow physically writing it was more pleasing to her soul. She would have liked to have used expensive handmade paper and an equally expensive Mont Blanc pen. Instead she was sat at a rickety desk with a cheap pad of A4 lined and an unassuming biro. Running her hands through her hair she wondered how to begin the letter. Putting her pen down she went into the kitchen and made a cup of tea. Lady Grey; always Lady Grey to help her think, to sort her thoughts into some form of order. Returning to the desk, Sally held the mug in two hands, holding it close to her chest as a child would clasp an illicit toy. She smiled; she was shielding the tea from the truth of what she needed to write. She inhaled the citrus tang of the tea as she stared out of the window. The dingy grey nets of the bed and breakfast diffused the late afternoon sun; Sally tried not to notice the accumulated fly corpses on the sill. The room was clean enough; perhaps a little rough around the edges but it had suited her purpose. Maybe she would have liked the room more if it had been raining. The sun showed the imperfections; rain and gloom would have hidden them, perhaps it would have made her letter easier to write. She shifted on the chair and sighed deeply: this was not as easy as she had imagined. In her mind she had been planning this letter for years. Knowing what to say, how to say it and how it should be delivered. Now the time was at hand the thought made her feel queasy just like she had on the ferry on the day trip to the Isle of Wight. It had been sunny that day too, Sally remembered. How long ago had that been, ten years, fifteen? It was odd how she should think of that now. She wondered if everyone felt like this, slowly searching memories for a happy time. A time to focus on, to banish the demons of the present like a parent drives away a bogey man from under a child’s bed. It seemed wrong somehow to write such a letter in the sunshine, maybe it would be better to write the letter later, to wait for a change in the weather. Rain was for sadness, sunshine for love and laughter. Sally let out a growl of frustration. Anger built up inside her, she had been planning this for so long, was there really a chance she would let her plans go awry just because of the weather? She took a gulp of tea and picked up her pen. With a deep breath, she began to write.
“To who it may concern” she wrote “My name is Sally Marchbank and let me apologise to you for finding me like this. This may seem to be a very strange letter, but I need to tell you, to tell someone, why I am here and why you have had the misfortune of finding me like this. Hopefully, I am still quite presentable; believe me when I say this is more for your benefit than for mine. I am far beyond caring how I look. But again, I do not wish to distress you anymore that you must already be. So where was I? Oh yes, my name is Sally and I have written this letter for a reason. You may have noticed that there is also a letter addressed to the police. I am sure they will want to read this one as well. I lived in this house as a child; for sixteen years this was a happy family home. This was the place where I felt most secure, no matter whatever else went on in my life, the tribulations that can only overwhelm the life of a teenager, here I was secure. Physically and emotionally, this was my bastion against the world. All that changed one summers afternoon the year I turned sixteen. That was the year I killed my mother”
Sally laid the pen on the paper and slowly rubbed her eyes. For more than fifty years she had never admitted to anyone the events of that afternoon. Never before had she written the words down. Now they were on the page, she felt… nothing. There was no emotion, no overwhelming sense of guilt. If she was being honest she felt only relief. Taking a sip of the now cold tea, she picked up the pen and continued to write “I am sorry to be so blunt with you. I have lived with the fact for so many years I wonder if I am immune to it. I wonder if that makes me a wicked person. You must think me so for as yet you do not know my story. Perhaps you may not wish to read it. I would like to be given the chance to tell my story, fully and without fear of prejudice. I am not a religious person but perhaps judgment has been made on my soul before you even find me. Yet I digress, on the one hand eager to share my story, on the other I am reticent and afraid. I must mentally shake myself and be factual; this is not what you were expecting to read, and perhaps it is not fair of me to burden you so. So, to continue, more than fifty years ago, I killed my mother. I was never considered a suspect by the police. Even though my fingerprints were on the knife, they believed I had merely handled the knife in shock. I suppose to help you understand, I should begin with my arrival home from school. I was early home that afternoon; I forget now the reason why: I’m not sure it even matters anymore. I let myself in with my key; I had only been entrusted with a door key earlier in the year as I turned sixteen. Now perhaps I know the reason why. I wasn’t expecting anyone to be at home and was looking forward to an afternoon curled up on the sofa with a battered copy of Jayne Eyre that I loved. As I walked the short hallway to the kitchen, I could hear my mother’s laughter. I remember even now the surprise I felt at her being home but still, we could enjoy an afternoon together. As I pushed open the kitchen door I heard a man’s voice. A voice that did not belong to any man I knew and certainly was not my fathers. Okay, I’ll admit that may not sound strange now, half a century later, but for me, in my home; it rang all sorts of alarm bells. As I gained a view into the kitchen I could see a man holding my mother close, his arms snaking up the back of her blouse. Seeing me, he smirked. Can you believe that? He actually smirked. My mother at least had the grace to try to pull away from him. It’s funny; I’m not exactly sure what happened next. I know that she ushered him out of the house, out of my father’s house, with promises that she would get in touch; that everything would be all right. All right? Nothing in my life would be “all right” again. She came back to the kitchen, calling me her darling, telling me that I didn’t need to tell my father. The man was a friend, he “helped” her. Did she think I was a child? How could I not tell my father what I had seen? She even tried to pull me close to her. She smelt of him, of the man she had let paw her body. I pushed her from me, I tried to leave, really, I did. She grew angry, shouting, telling me my father was not half the man her lover was. She spat the words at me. She grabbed my arm, tried to turn me towards her. Blindly through the tears I grabbed for something to make her let me go. My fingers sought and found something hard and I swung my arm. Only as I heard the chocked cry of my mother did I see what I had grabbed hold of. The kitchen knife was sticking from my mother’s neck, blood pouring from the wound. Soundlessly she opened and closed her mouth, surprise etched on her face. Slowly, so very slowly, I slid down the cupboard onto the floor. I think that must have been when I passed out.” Sally dropped the pen on the paper. Half of her was amazed at how easily the words flowed from her: almost as though floodgates had been opened. The other half of her pitied the person who would find the letter. But then again, now was not the time for regrets. She rolled her shoulders and flexed her hands. She was almost done; there was time to finish this today if she stopped stopping and starting.
Taking up her pen, she continued: “I’m not sure how much time had passed before I woke up, I know that my father was still not home from work and my brothers were still out. I left the house and walked until it was dark. I felt no remorse; I’m not sure that I felt anything: I’m not sure I have felt anything at all since that day. When I finally returned to the place where I had once felt so safe, there were police cars parked outside the house. My mother’s body had been removed, to the morgue I assume. My father and brothers were sat in the living room, they rose together to envelope me in their strong arms and my father told me the news I already knew. I nodded mutely and allowed myself to be safe in the arms of my family. I knew that I would need to tell someone that I had been here, that I had touched the knife that killed my mother. I didn’t know how long the police would take to figure out that the finger prints on the knife were mine; I decided that I needed to tell my father quickly. I remember the look on his face when I told him. How he had looked so sad, how he had been so sorry for my finding mother how I had. He told me he understood why I had run away. I told him I was worried someone had been hiding in the house; that I had seen she was dead and known that she would want me to protect myself. I looked him in the eye and lied to him. My beloved father. That is my one regret: I do not regret killing her. So, there it is, my story, how I killed my mother and have lived for the last fifty years without telling a soul. You may think me a coward to never confess, but as time wore on it became harder to do. My father eventually found love again, with a woman who truly loved him. He and I never spoke of my mother. In his way I believe he was trying to protect me. Sometimes I have wondered if he ever knew what I did. But there is no way he could have done. Again, forgive me for writing this; I hope it tells you why I am here. Ending my life in this house”
Sally signed her name, folded the paper and put it into the envelope. She wrote on the envelope “To whom it may concern”. She licked the flap and smoothed it down with the flat of her hand. She walked to the small single bed where her handbag lay and slid the envelope inside, next to the bottle of water she would need as there was no water at the house and the small bottle of pills. She stared at the small green tablets; the description on the internet told her one tablet was enough to floor a small rhino. Slowly she screwed the lid back on, the dozen tablets rattling as she did so; there should be plenty for what she needed. She retrieved her small suitcase from the top of the wardrobe and began to pack her belongings. She would have no need for them, and it was the least she could do.
Slipping on her coat she took one last look around the small room. It had served her well these last few days. As she let herself out, closing the front door softly behind her, Sally noticed that it had begun to rain.
A new twist on an old favourite 😉
T’was the night before Christmas
And in the corner of the house
A cat was playing,
With a little brown mouse
The cat reached out with velvet paw
To swat the mouse across the floor
The mouse turned and with a slide and a trip
Tried to give the cat the slip
Then outside, such a terrible noise
That the elegant cat lost all of his poise.
The cat leapt upon the windowsill
The mouse forgotten in his thrill
A man in the garden with a sleigh and reindeer
Was tethering up the harness and gear.
In the front door, the guest came in
Without an invite from any within
There by the fire dropping snow on the mat
The visitor stood with a green coat and a hat
No, he should not be dressed in red,
That’s just what a soft drinks firm said.
My master appeared wiping sleep from his eyes
To stare at the wonder come down from the skies.
“Now look here old chap, its Christmas Eve
I think that you really should leave”.
The visitor smiled and nodded his head
“I think that you, should go back to bed”
The master nodded and did as was bid
While the cat behind the sofa hid
The visitor left all to soon,
To fly below the shining moon.
The cat licked his paw at this curious sight,
It really had been a very strange night.
At last, the cat could bear it no more
And padded softly ‘cross the floor
He inched slowly forward, just to see,
If there was something for him, left under the tree.
I love playing with lego
There are all sorts of sets.
In lots of sizes and colours
it’s better than having pets
Now is the time to remember them,
that special time of year.
They that gave their lives for us
so that we do not live in fear
Sally stared at the front of the house, a normal terraced house. Cracked and peeling, the once vibrant red paint on the door certainly
added to the overall look of distress. As she slid the key into the lock, flakes of paint, caught by the sleeve of her coat, dropped to the floor. Fully
expecting the door hinges to groan, she was almost disappointed when the door opened smoothly and silently. A small drift of junk mail hindered the door’s ability to open fully, but Sally squeezed through the gap, closing the door softly behind her.
Inside the small hallway, Sally took stock. It felt strange to be in this house again, after all that had happened. She almost felt she had come full circle; she had been born in this house. She knew that a door to the right would take her into the lounge, with an archway leading to the dining room and kitchen. Stairs to the left led up to the three bedrooms and bathroom.
She didn’t feel the need to look around the house, she had lived here for so many years she knew every crack and crevice and more than a few of the secrets this pile of bricks held. Half of her wondered why she had returned here, not just to this area, but to this house. She hadn’t told the estate agent she had lived in this house. She hadn’t said anything much. You didn’t need to really; no one cared anymore. She had made vague noises when he had asked if she knew the area.
She took the letter out of her handbag. She had written and re-written it many times. She wasn’t sure who she had written it for now. Her Father had died the previous year and she hadn’t spoken to her brothers since she left the area over fifty years before. But still, she knew the letter would explain everything. She looked at the envelope sadly. “To whom it may concern”, so cold and impersonal, but did she deserve any better? Propping the letter against her handbag, she opened the bottle of tablets she had taken from her coat pocket. She had carefully worked out that the small bottle held more than enough tablets for her purpose. She had left nothing to chance, not this time. Opening a bottle of water Sally began taking the tablets, one by one. Only when she had taken the last tablet, did she lie down. Closing her eyes she finally allowed herself to relive what had happened in this house more than five decades before.
She had been just 16, full of the joys of youth. She was home early, she couldn’t remember why. She wasn’t really sure that it mattered anymore. She had let herself in, feeling proud that she was allowed a key to the front door. Expecting the house to be empty, she was amazed to see her Mother in the kitchen and even more amazed that she was in the arms of a man who wasn’t her Father. The man, she never found out who he was, left quickly, her Mother saying that she would sort everything out. Her Mother had tried to explain to Sally, but Sally couldn’t hear the words. All she could see, like a loop of film, was her Mother kissing another man. She turned to leave the kitchen, dazed, her world shattered, when her Mother grabbed her arm. Sally acted without thinking and grabbing the nearest thing to hand, she lunged at her mother. Only as her Mother gasped did Sally realise what she had done. She had grabbed a large kitchen knife and it was now sticking out of her Mother’s neck. The blade was red, as red as the front door, Sally thought numbly. Her Mother reached out to Sally for help, but Sally backed away, shaking her head. With more calmness than she felt, Sally slowly walked out of the house; she would come back later, back when her Father would be at home. She knew that she was leaving her Mother to die.
There had been police cars when she returned home. Police cars and questions. No one had asked her if she had killed her Mother, no one had reason to think she would. So, for over five decades she kept her peace, moving away as soon as she was old enough. But now, now she was back. To give her life for the one she took so many years ago.