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Published on June 18th, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie

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Ann’s Story: Chapter Five ‘Seeds Of Friendship’

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Yellow Magpie’s Saturday Serial continues with Chapter Five. You can read chapter one,  two and three here.

Ann decided to go for a walk, so she pulled on her old track suit, which was rather like a familiar but dull friend. She this with scruffy runners and went out her front door. As she made her way outside the door across the road opened and out stepped her beautiful neighbour.

When she spotted Ann she waved over. ‘Hi’ she said cheerfully. ‘How are you?’

‘Hi’, Ann answered. ‘Welcome to the neighbourhood’. To Ann’s horror she began to cross the road,wearing a skin-tight black pair of jeans with a black shirt and gold buttons. She wore a large gold watch on her right arm and her hair was hanging loose.
‘Hi’ she said again. ‘My name is Thelma.’ Her voice was warm, kind and wrapped in vibrancy.

‘She even has a nice name’ Ann reasoned, ‘ My name is Ann,’ she replied, feeling as plain and dowdy as she ever had in her life.

‘Everyone is so friendly around here,’  Thelma said smiling with her gleaming white teeth.

‘Yes,’ said Ann semi-automatically, though she didn’t really agree with her, she had no friends on the road. ‘Where are you from,?’ Ann asked politely, though she really didn’t care, she was still in shock following the days news.

‘Oh I am originally from Crowley, but I was working abroad, and decided it was time to come home, so when I saw this house for sale I grabbed the opportunity,’

Ann couldn’t understand why anyone in their right mind would want to come back to Crowley once they got away. Yet here was this stunning looking woman saying she jumped at the chance. ‘Is she mad?’ she wondered.

Ann observed Thelma while she spoke, she was lively and had an inner light that seemed to glow in her eyes. Her skin was beautiful she thought as she studied her. She also noticed how expressive her gestures were, she used her hands a lot, showing off her beautiful gold ring as she ran her fingers through her thick shiny hair. Ann felt ashamed of her appearance, and cursed herself for not making more of an effort.

‘Would you like to come over for a cup of tea or something, I put the kettle on just before I came out, I would love you to come in.’ This friendly gesture caused mild panic in Ann, she wanted to run.

‘What will we talk about?’ she wondered frantically, but despite herself she was warming to this woman, ‘she has such charm’ Ann thought enviously.

Before she knew it she was sitting in Thelma’s kitchen, with a mug of tea and a slice of beautiful lemon cake on her plate. Thelma was sitting opposite, smiling at her. ‘Are you going to work in Crowley?  enquired Ann.

‘Not for a while, I do some writing so it is something I want to pursue, I also sing a bit so I will try my hand at that.’

Ann had always wanted to write, she had written some bits and pieces but hadn’t finished what she started. ‘ Have you had anything published?’ she enquired curiously.

‘Yes, I have had a few short stories published in magazines and also some articles.’

And your singing?’ Ann’s curiosity was firmly piqued.

‘Well I am taking lessons, I enrolled in the local music school here, but prior to coming to Crowley, I used to sing with a small opera company in Germany.’

Ann knew she would have been doing something exotic, ‘well good luck finding an opera company in Crowley’

‘So what do you do? Thelma asked, ‘I work as a secretary in a solicitor’s office. I have been working there for years, part of the furniture now.’Ann said, realizing how true that was, she was part of the furniture, a part that was about to be thrown out onto the rubbish tip. She had to bite her lip to stop herself from crying again.

To get her mind off her problems, she asked Thelma who did her hair.

‘Well a lot of the time I do it myself, I don’t really like going to hairdressers, it takes too much time, I go to get it cut of course, but I put in rollers, and I tie it up this way and that, and buy different slides to see what looks the best, you know how it is.’

‘Yes’ said Ann, not really having a clue how it is or was or would be in the future, ‘it is lovely, my hair is so dry and the colour is horrible, I would love to do something different with it but…’ Ann trailed off, as she realized how boring she must sound to Thelma who looked so put together.

‘Well I better go,’ Ann said abruptly, ‘things to do,’

‘Maybe we can go out to a film or a show or something some evening’, Thelma said smiling. ‘I have been looking at the paper and I see there is a theatre in town, I love plays and since I don’t really know anyone yet, I would love if we could be friends.

Ann was completely taken aback with what Thelma had just, said, ‘Er…sure, if you like, sure we will see what’s on, and maybe we can go‘ with that, Ann was gone.

Ann forgot she had been going for a walk, when Thelma called her, so she headed back to her own house and closed the door behind her. Once inside she began to think about what Thelma had suggested, she felt rattled again, God, imagine going out with Thelma what would I wear, I would be like a mouse beside her. What would we talk about, she has travelled, seen the world.

Yet, Ann knew she needed a friend badly, and she had often wanted to go to the theatre but had nobody to go with. This could be her opportunity to get out of the house. But then she, remembered she was about to lose her job, and realized she would have no money to go anywhere soon.

She sat down deflated, ‘I wouldn’t be able to buy myself anything new to wear, and I am not going to have money to go to the theatre anyway,’ Ann began to feel sorry for herself again, she wanted to be this woman’s friend, but she didn’t think it was possible.
The doorbell rang interrupting her gloomy thoughts. Ann wondered who it was, not many people called to her house. She opened the door and Thelma stood there.

I just found a few hair slides that I thought you might like, my hair is too long for them now, but I’ll bet they will look good in you.’

‘Oh, thanks, Thelma, they’re lovely.’ Ann answered, not knowing whether to be vexed or pleased at the gesture.

‘Anyway, I was just glancing at the paper, there is a great play at the theatre on Friday night, do you fancy going?’ she asked.

‘Oh, Friday, I don’t know, I might be going out can I get back to you?’ Ann lied through her teeth.

‘Sure, it’s on for a few weeks, so no problem we can go some other night maybe.’ ‘Yes, I will let you know, and thanks for these.’

Ann, closed the door once again and felt relieved to be on her own. She looked at the three slides, one was red diamanté. That might go with my red dress thought Ann, then there was a wide plain brown one, and the other was like a tortoise shell, with pinks blues and greens, catching in the light.

She clipped on the red diamanté one and looked at her reflection in the mirror. She liked the way it glinted in the light and enjoyed how it made her hair look. She stared at the other two in her hands and a very small seed of hope was planted in her heart.

Yellow Magpie’s Saturday Serial continues with Chapter Five. You can read chapter one,  two and three here.


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