LOOKING BACK Short Story

I invite you to read my short story which is on Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Diesel, LOOKING BACK. It is about an elderly lady who is looking back on her life, and comprehending the events which have led her to the present day. I hope you enjoy reading, and welcome you to comment upon the story.

Marcia

LOOKING BACK

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“My name is Anne Smith, and I would like to tell you my story. In my youth, and up ‘til now, I have always attempted to take life at a slow, leisurely pace. My parents didn’t pressure my brothers and sisters or me, for any reason whatsoever, and, as a result, my family got along marvelously. Mom and Dad were the warmest people in the world, but they only requested one thing from us – if we ever felt bothered by anything or anyone, however small, or large the problem, we would consult them. By doing this we not only solved the problem which we had, but also, learnt how to deal with any others we may have had.

When I was little, we didn’t have television to watch or computer games to play, or the internet to entertain ourselves, as we do nowadays. We became creative instead, and invented our own games. Mom and Dad weren’t rich enough to buy us the elaborate games which were fashionable at the time, so, we made up our own games. Some of our old favorites were: small pebbles which we found in the garden became marbles, we built play houses with bread crusts and for the cement to join the pieces, we dabbed the crusts with jam. Other hobbies my brothers and sisters and I also had were helping Mom with the cooking, Dad with his chores around the house, and, finally, competing with each other as to who could achieve the highest grade in their studies. What a thrill it was to receive an A result for something we’d done at school – we always tried to outdo each other in this way, and our Mom and Dad were always amused by us comparing our results!

Childhood swiftly flew by, as it does and soon, I matured into a young adult. It was around this period my mother was preparing me for marriage. When I was twenty years old, I decided it was time for me to marry. While my parents wanted me to be really sure I was doing the right thing, by not marrying at too young an age, I knew in my heart that the time was right for me. The man I married was James Smith, a fellow I met at school and, whose family were close family friends with mine. We had known one another for a long time, and had always had a good relationship. Mom and Dad were very happy with my choice of husband, and gave me their blessing for my marriage. We had a wonderful wedding, and our reception was held in our family backyard. I will never forget my parents, especially my mother, who cried before I left for the honeymoon – it had just started to sink in for her, that I was now married, but these weren’t tears of unhappiness; but of joy for me in my new phase of life.

For about the first five years of our married life, James worked in a factory, and I kept our house in order. James and I had saved some money, and, after paying off our family home, we felt that the time was right for us to start a family. In the first few months of my pregnancy, to be honest, I was scared. I told my Mom about all my worries, and she said that this was just a natural way to feel, and that I would be all right. How right she was – not only did I have the perfect pregnancy, but God gave me a beautiful baby girl. James and I named our newborn girl Opal, after the birthstone. Opal was a quiet, gentle baby, who James and I were blessed with the task of nurturing into the world.

As Opal was growing up, I found her fascinating to watch. I now know how my mother felt as she was watching my siblings and I grow up. She was a combination of James’, and my, love and devotion to each other. Opal, as I experienced her, blossomed from an inquisitive little girl, into a kind, mature adult. James and I did everything in our power to provide Opal with the best in life, just like our parents did for us. Opal, in time, was preparing herself for marriage, just like I did at her age. Just by looking at her, I saw a younger version of myself, who was full of jitters about getting married, these, though, being happy jitters.

After Opal married her husband Frank, establishing her own family, James and I were alone, for the first time in our lives. My parents witnessed Opal’s marriage, and were content that their granddaughter married the man of her dreams. While we became even closer with Opal and her husband after their marriage, and saw their children grow, life changed for us, but not for the worse. This phase of our lives opened doors for James and me to try activities which we thought were not possible before. Socializing with our friends and family, indulging more in hobbies such as golf, and travelling around the world, were just some of the things James and I did in our retirement. We were happy, and it felt as if we had been reborn, and that life was just beginning for us. Unfortunately, though, fate began to deal some sad cards for us soon after.

James died in his sleep a few years ago of natural causes, and, after his death, I felt as if my insides had withered away forever. I could not sleep, or eat properly for a while, and this affected my health. Grief is not an easy thing to deal with, no matter how well-intentioned other people can be – you have some good days, but some not so good days. While Opal and here family were a rock for me in the time after James’ death, and still are, things were not the same, and would never be, ever again.

Seeing my mental state, my sister introduced me to a social support club whose members largely consisted of men and women who were in similar predicaments to mine. Going to this club has been a Godsend to me, and it is refreshing to know that there are other people who are feeling what I’m feeling, have gone through it, and, have come out on the other side. We help one another when we’re down, and laugh, cry and reminisce about our lives. I know that nothing can bring James back, but I now know that I can clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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