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Published on July 16th, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie

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Ann’s Story: Chapter Nine ‘A Delayed Plan’

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

Over the next week Ann worried and fretted about what she was going to do. She was relieved to go back to work on Monday if only to stop thinking about the future. Yet she knew she was going to have to face the question sooner or later.

Her enthusiasm following the writing of her wish list had vanished and once again she was left with yet another piece of paper with a list of goals.

At her desk she looked around the familiar office knowing she could easily find every file containing house deeds and the Wills of so many people. She could recognise the individual sounds like the funny noise the radiators made during the winter. The way you had to tweak the photocopying machine to get it working and the everyday creak of Mr Johnson’s chair.

She looked at Julie and Alice; both had been there for around two years. Ann had seen so many girls come and go. Some had gone on to other jobs, others had gone travelling, still others left to look after their children. Only Ann remained.

She remembered the day she had first started working there, she was so nervous and timid. In those first few days she never dreamt she would still be there 15 years later.

‘I should have left years ago’, she thought. She reminisced about girls she had gone to school with, all of them were married with families almost reared. Some were on husband number two.

‘How did I get so stuck in a rut and let life pass me by?’ she wondered.

Then it was 5.30 and time to go home. On her way she decided to call into the fishmongers to buy some salmon for her tea. As she stepped inside she saw  the dreaded Lisa Holmes, who attended the same school as herself. She was chatting with Seamus the owner.

‘Shit’, thought Ann and she was about to turn on her heel to go back out when Seamus shouted ‘Hello Ann.’

Lisa swung around. Hi Ann’ she beamed with a false smile and perfect teeth.

Hi Lisa how are you?’ Ann answered. ‘Well I am just fine, she enthused.

‘I was just telling Seamus here I am just back from Paris, John took me there as a surprise for my birthday, he is such a sweetheart.’ ‘O wow’, said Ann doing her best to sound as if she cared.

‘So how are you keeping Ann? are you still at Johnson and Roberts?’ 

Yes, still there.

‘I hear old William Johnson is retiring will that effect you in any way?’ Lisa enquired.

At that particular moment Ann’s dislike for this woman intensified to boiling point. She knew instinctively that Lisa Holmes knew she was about to lose her job. As her husband John was also a solicitor and they all mixed with one another. She longed for a smart reply to come to her that would cut the smugness off of Lisa Holmes face. But then she didn’t have to because, like an angel from Heaven, Seamus who had gone behind to the fridges to bring out some fish, returned. ‘There you go Lisa’, how’s about that for a fine looking piece of monkfish?’

Ann was delighted and relieved that she didn’t have to answer and then to add further to her ease another person walked into the shop and Lisa having paid for her purchase had no option but to go as Seamus was now dealing with Ann.

‘Thank you, God.’ she whispered quietly to herself.

After dinner at home she sat down and reviewed her wish list, and she decided there and then not to pursue looking for a job for six months. She knew she would get social welfare and she had some savings and she would manage quite well. Though she still hadn’t tackled Mr Johnson about a redundancy package.

‘If I see something advertised on the paper that I think would suit me then of course I will apply, but I won’t actively pursue anything.’ she promised herself.

Having made that decision she felt quite peaceful, ‘I will just see what presents itself to me or what ideas will come to me.’

For some reason the word ‘Fashion’ dropped into her head. She always loved clothes and even though she dressed the same old way every day. She knew that when she made the effort, which wasn’t often these days, that she did have a knack with fashion and felt she could look quite classy.

She remembered back when she was a child, dressing her doll and playing with cut out paper clothes for cardboard figures. It was one of her favourite things to do.

When she was a teenager and in her twenties she was always buying clothes. But in latter years she hadn’t bothered as she always felt what was the use as no one was going to notice her.

She also had a love affair with colour just the thought of colour made her feel excited.

‘I wonder would there be any place for me in the world of fashion?’

She decided to let the thought ruminate and to trust that if she was to do something along that line then an idea would present itself to her.

She went from room to room in her house ‘There isn’t one room that is fit for anyone to visit.’ she reckoned. The thought depressed her, the house got on her nerves there was so much junk and she hated the furniture, it was really heavy and dark. Just like her, each room was badly in need of a make over.

‘Where do I start?’ she wondered. She thought back to Thelma’s house across the road, how bright and clean it was. She wanted to be able to invite her over but with the state her house was in she just couldn’t.

She longed to throw  out every stitch in her wardrobe and pull down the heavy velvet curtains and dump the dark red suite of furniture in the sitting room. There were books and papers everywhere.

She remembered Thelma saying to take tiny steps. She would just have to tackle this house sooner or later it was so claustrophobic and Ann felt clearing it out and cleaning it up was part of getting her life back on track.

She pledged to begin the cleaning process straight away. So grabbing a large refuse sack she began to ruthlessly fling books and ornaments into the bag and the more she did it the more relieved and the lighter she felt.

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


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