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Published on July 2nd, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie

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Ann’s Story: Chapter Seven ‘The Decision’

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

The next morning, Ann did something she had hardly ever done in her 15 years working. She rang in sick and even though she was about to lose her job, she still felt guilty. She sat at the kitchen table and wondered what she would do with her day off, she couldn’t go down town, because she was supposed to be ill. The thought came into her head to call Thelma, and show her the dress, but she couldn’t invite her over to her house, as she was so ashamed of how it looked.

She glanced around her kitchen in despair, everything appeared old and run down. She scolded herself for not spending money decorating. ‘Well it’s too late now cos you won’t have any money in a few weeks. she said to herself harshly.

She decided just to go  over and knock at Thelma’s and bring the dress with her.

At around 11am Ann took her precious dress out of the wardrobe and crossed the street to Thelma’s house, she knocked at the door and in a few minutes it was answered by Thelma, wearing a white towelling robe. ‘Oh God she always looks good, no matter what’, Ann groaned to herself.

Hi’,Thelma  said smiling and giving Ann an unexpected hug. Ann felt flustered, she was not used to getting or giving hugs, she gave a nervous little laugh.

‘Are you not working today Ann?’ Thelma asked.

‘No, I rang in sick.’

‘Are you not well?’ asked Thelma concerned.

‘I am fine, I just felt like a day off, anyway I am being made redundant.’

‘Oh no, I am so sorry to hear that.’

‘Yea, well that’s life, isn’t it.’

‘Have you any plans, as to what you might do?’

‘Not really’, I suppose, I am still in shock, I have been working there so long, I will be lost without my job,’ Ann could feel tears coming into her eyes,

‘Well I hope you get a good redundancy package,  you deserve it after all those years,’

Ann, suddenly realized she hadn’t even thought of that. ‘Well to be honest I didn’t even think to ask.’

‘I know you were so upset, that is understandable, but don’t forget to ask and you know Ann, I know you don’t think it now, but this could be the best thing to ever happen to you’.

‘How dare she’, thought Ann, ‘how could losing my job be the best thing for me. I don’t understand.’

‘Well it will give you an opportunity to try something new, maybe something you have always wanted to do but couldn’t.’

Ann didn’t know what she wanted to do, except she wanted to travel, to fall in love, be swept off her feet, to feel alive. But that wasn’t practical, she needed a steady income and only a job could provide that for her.

‘Would you like some soup? I have just made a pot, I hope you like it.’

‘So she can cook, too, she is just too much,’ Ann surmised. ‘Yes I  would love some,’ Ann said, knowing the soup would be delicious.

Anyway, Thelma, I wonder would you tell me what you think of this, I bought it on a whim the other day,’ Ann proudly unwrapped the dress.

Thelma, gasped, ‘oh, Ann, it is just amazing, where will you wear it?’

‘That’s just it, I don’t know why I bought it, I have no place to wear it.’

‘Oh, you must wear it, try it on till I see it.’

Ann hadn’t reckoned on her asking her to try it, on, she was ashamed of her underwear, it was grey and didn’t look great.

Thelma sensed her reluctance, ‘You can go into the bedroom if you like, it’s down the corridor first door on your right.’

Ann, smiled, and got up and went down the corridor, doing as she was told opening the first door on her right. Thelma’s bedroom was neat and tidy, her dressingtable was full of bottles of perfume and creams. Ann saw a packet with false eyelashes, and would have loved to try them on herself. She stared at her jewellery box, she couldn’t resist taking a peek inside. It was full of colourful costume jewellery, rings and earrings, in almost every colour.

‘She must have jewellery to go with everything’ Ann thought looking at the myriad of hues made Ann feel happy for some reason.

She pulled off her own clothes and put on the dress, once again she gazed in awe at how the dress made her figure look, it was unbelievable. Having again done a few twists and turns, she opened the door and walked down the corridor into the kitchen.

Thelma turned around from her saucepan and once again gasped, she told Ann to twirl, ‘Ann White, if you don’t wear that dress somewhere, I will never speak to  you again’,

‘Where am I going to wear it? There is no place.’

‘Ann you cannot waste that dress, it is the most spectacular dress I have seen in years, and it makes you look ravishing’.

Ann blushed with a mixture of embarrassment and pleasure. She couldn’t remember the last time she had had a compliment.

‘We will think of something, you have to be seen in it, Ann, it is way too fabulous to leave sitting in a wardrobe.’

After she had taken off the dress, she came back into the kitchen, where Thelma had poured out a bowl of creamy vegetable soup, there was a basket of bread in the middle of the table. Ann sat down, she was glad she was with Thelma that morning, and she was glad she had come across the road to her new friend.

The soup is delicious,’ Ann said, you seem to be able to do everything, cook, turn up clothes, plant your garden, write.’

‘Well I can’t do everything, but I try to do as many things as I can, I like to try new things, it makes life interesting, otherwise I can easily get into a rut and brood. But I wasn’t always like that, for years, I did nothing but dream about what I wanted to do, but never actually did anything, I was alive but not really alive, if you know what I mean’.

Ann knew exactly what she meant, but she just nodded.

‘So what happened to change all that?’

‘Well I got breast cancer, some years ago, I survived, thank God, but my life became very precious and I had a sense of urgency. I wanted to do everything I had been putting off, like travel, write, paint, things I had wanted to do for years but just dreamed about. So I wrote down all my dreams, the little ones and the big ones, and one by  one, I tackled each one, I am still getting through them of course but I work of the list every day.’

‘Wow,’ gasped Ann,  ‘I write down my goals too, but I am afraid I do very little to achieve any of them, and now that my job is gone, I don’t really know which way to turn.’

‘What would you like your life to be like?’

‘Well I would love maybe to take  year off, to travel, I also would like to write, and paint, I want to be healthy and make the most of my hair and figure. I would love new clothes, but I won’t have the money to do any of this now.  I have wasted so much of my life.  I would also love to meet someone special to share my life with, of course.’

You speak as if these things are impossible for you, Ann, but they are not. They are simple, I mean why shouldn’t you be healthy, travel the world, fall in love,  why not?

‘I don’t know, it almost feels as if there is someone stopping me or someone going to whip my dreams away from me, before I get to do any of it, or that I will be sick, or won’t have money, or something, I don’t know. I suppose because I have never had them it is hard to believe that I can have them in the future.’

‘Well I am here to tell you, you can, I used to think something like that, but if you make your list, and do something small every day to bring your dreams into reality I can guarantee you, you will have what you want.

For the first time in years, Ann felt some excitement, and some hope that she could have what others took for granted, a special relationship, see foreign countries, have some fun and glamour.

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


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