Tag Archives: friendship

Life Carries On

Daniel slammed the front door to the house and stomped into the living room. His entrance was so abrupt and uncharacteristic that his friends all stopped what they were doing – Lizzie, nose up from a book – Jack, knife sharpening – Maria, daydreaming about her dance class. All three looked at Daniel and made inquisitive noises. Daniel merely shook his head, and disappeared off to his room without a word.

The next day, it happened again…

…and the day after that.

The friends discussed between themselves. Maybe it was a girl. Maybe it was something at work. Maybe a health problem that they were not aware of. But each day, when Daniel came home, he was clearly experiencing a torrent of strong emotions.

On the following Tuesday, Daniel came home angry yet again, but now things had changed at his house. Maria was waiting for him with fresh cup of apricot tea, while Jack and Lizzie had moved a large table into the centre of the sitting room.

On the table were two chopping boards, on each was a root vegetable, and there were two bright, freshly sharpened knives. Jack stood by one, and indicated the other. The girls gave a countdown, and the chopping race began. Jack won, but only by a little.

The next evening, when Daniel came home, the sitting room had been cleared of all furniture. Music was playing, and there Maria stood in fancy dress and sparkling shoes. She brought Daniel to the centre of the room, and away they danced. Jive, the waltz and the quickstep.

The next evening, there were two comfy chairs and a crackling fire. They pushed Daniel into one of the chairs, and Lizzie read to him her favourite passages from Journey to the West.

Later that evening, they sat down to dinner. Daniel thanked them for their efforts, and then told them about the very last time he would ever see his grandmother.


Roll of the Dice, Part III

Continued from Part II.

Stan and François went on, quiet at first, awkward from the induced proximity. Stan attempted to lighten the mood, but his ill-advised efforts fell flat upon François’s preoccupation. Instead they swapped life details. François was a schoolteacher of classics, Stan a draughtsman. Stan was single. François had met Matilda on a long train journey, met up with her later in Lyon and had decided, in his words, “to sing to her each morning”. François’s father was an accountant, Stan’s father had been in the military. Stan’s father had many tales of rescuing grievously injured comrades while under enemy fire. Stan commented that despite their current trial, perhaps he and François did not appreciate the true depths of existence possible, to this François readily agreed.

Thus while their mood stayed low and François’s intensity and anguish over the predicament only increased, a friendship was born. Stan praised François’s heroism, a sentiment from which the rescuer seemed to shrink. So Stan persisted with his descriptions, adding arguments and praise both judicious and ridiculous. With these comments, at last, François’s mood lifted slightly, and a smile cracked across his features at Stan’s comparison of himself to Achilles and François to Heracles. Yet the spectre of the missing Matilda stood tall and dark over both men’s hearts.

Over an hour later, painful for them both – physically so for Stan and emotionally for François – the town finally came into sight. Lights shone into the falling dusk and the bustle of angry voices buzzed up through the night towards them. Stan and François struggled on down, plunging into the commotion of ambulances and packs of rescue dogs.

To be continued…


Graves jogged to a halt, put his hands behind his head and breathed in cool, welcome air. Nat was leaning against a nearby tree, taking gulps from a bottle of water. She waved.

“Not bad for an old man,” she said.

Graves laughed. “Thanks. Good pace.”

“Where’re the others?” she asked, offering the bottle.

Graves took the water and poured a little over his head. “Mags was not far behind me. Not sure about Deck.” He looked over his shoulder and saw Mags trotting towards the tree, a big grin adorning a red face.

She stopped, laughed, then leant over and put her hands on her knees. “Good,” she said. “Loved it when you surprised the dog,” waggling her finger at Graves, “very funny.”

Nat stood up and beckoned to the other two. “Deck must be having a hard time,” she said. “Let’s go and find him.” The others nodded.

They walked slowly back along the path. A few minutes later they caught sight their friend. He was jogging slowly towards them, face screwed up in pain, hand clutching his side. He waved, too short of breath.

They formed a line either side of him, and began to jog, matching his pace.

“Look at you sporty people,” he gasped. “What am I doing?”

“You’re becoming one of us,” said Graves.

“You’re pushing your limits,” said Nat.

“You’re making us proud,” said Mags.

They arrived at the tree. Deck hugged it and laughed. The others splashed water over him.

“I love you guys,” he said.