• Family

    The Perfect Gift of Love

    The perfect gift of love. Her arrival date was Christmas Day. Her funeral date was not much later. She lived and died inside of me. I cradled her silent body, kissed her sleeping eyes, and hung tight until she was taken away. My baby. My gift. My love. Mince pies filled the air, laughter, lights, out-of-tune carols, and the tearing of paper. Everything was bright, though the colour had faded for me and Matt. Our angel would have been a year older today. She would have shone like the star on top of our tree. Sammy rolled around under the Christmas tree, crushing the presents with his long body, his…

  • Romance

    Advent

    We met in a quaint coffee shop one quiet afternoon. The persistent sun shone through the oval window onto his table where he was reading a dog-eared P.G. Wodehouse. He was in his own world full of chuckles. As I dropped two sugar cubes into my flat white, he laughed deeply, dimples forming in his broad face. I stirred my coffee, and he laughed again, and again, until he glanced around, realising he was no longer in his own world full of chuckles, and spotted me. His dimpled cheeks reddened. I broke into an amused grin. We got to talking about Jeeves. Eventually, we made plans for a dinner date.…

  • Family,  Friendship

    Logan and Lucy

    Lucy entered my life when Logan exited it. He’d been unwell for some time. We’d had many years together, our whole lives really. We met in primary school, and despite the bumpy road, we finished in our sixties. He slipped away peacefully, although can anyone really know if a person died peacefully? It was a Tuesday. A sunny day. I’ll never forget wrapping my hand around his cold fingers like a scarf that terrible morning. I wanted to keep him warm. I had barely shed a tear when a deep barking sliced through the stillness. For a second, I thought it was an awful mistake, and Logan was alive. When…

  • Family

    November News

    She breathed in the fresh November air, milder than the previous year, her boots squelching in the thick mud as she pushed her pumpkin in the pram along the sleeping riverside. Caramel leaves dropped as she strode under a large weather-beaten tree, her pumpkin’s wide blue eyes taking it all in.  ‘Can you see the trees, my darling?’ she yawned. The sun was faint, dew clinging to blades of grass, a quiet hum of birdsong in the air. She should be drinking tea with her pumpkin beside her, cosied up in her big bed still. It was too early, even for them, to be up. But as she opened her…

  • Family

    The Visit

    ‘Quickly, Ben!’ I glance out the bedroom window, hearing a car drive past. ‘Phew, it’s not her.’ ‘I don’t know why you turn into a Kim and Aggie mash-up when your mum visits,’ he grumbles, tossing his dirty socks into the laundry basket. ‘I do not,’ I object, resenting that. I don’t. Obviously, I want my house to be presentable, but it’s not like I want it gleaming. ‘Ben!’ ‘What?’ He spins around, eyes bulging. ‘There’s a used earbud down by your bedside table.’ I cannot even believe it. ‘My mum’s going to be sleeping in this room.’ ‘Calm down. You’re going to keel over before she gets here.’ ‘I…

  • Childhood,  Family

    Sailing Sundays

    Every Sunday afternoon, as a young boy, Father would take me out to the hills where we would set our boats to sail on the lake. It was the only time we were alone together. We never spoke much, and when we did, it was like talking to a stranger. When he won, he gave a solid nod of his head. When I won, he gave me a firm pat on the back. I remember a warmth spreading through my bones, particularly wonderful in the height of winter when the wind blew so fierce, all I wanted to do was cling tight to Father. We never did much hugging in…

  • Childhood,  Family

    Egg and Spoon Race

    We were sitting on a metal spoon like an egg, unsteady, any sudden movement about to finish us off. We weren’t going to reach the finish line without smashing on the ground, congealed and ruined. Dad was about to leave, he was ready to go. Mum was packing his suitcase. Maisy and I kept quiet as always. We couldn’t do anything to stop it. And then something happened, that to the rest of the world was already an egg and spoon race gone horribly wrong. But to us, a second chance. A virus had broken out. People were dropping like flies around the world. The news was on in the…

  • Family

    One Little Woodland Walk

    That’s just great. Milk spurting everywhere. Rain dripping down my face. It has to rain just as soon as I put him to my breast. Great. Now Noah is screeching at the top of his tiny lungs. How does he even make that much noise? Oh, great. Humans coming. My right boob is hanging out. For all the world to see! There’s a deep voice, definitely a man. Quick. Hide the breast. ‘Shhh, Noah, shh, come on.’ I sniff. Of course, because it’s hay fever season, my nose is also running like Niagara Falls. Jolly walks. Why did I think we could go for one little woodland walk on a…

  • Friendship

    Our School Walk

    Every morning on my way to school, I walked past the same girl. Her mummy was never with her. We never said hello. She looked the same age as me. Her eyes were stuck to the pavement like the Velcro straps on my school shoes. She had a black rucksack with holes in it, and it was never zipped up properly. Once, a pencil fell out, and my mummy picked it up to give to her. She didn’t say thank you. She looked so sad, I wondered if she had a mummy at all. One morning, it rained so hard that I thought the sky was trying to make popcorn…

  • Family

    Her Mark

    We ventured all over the village, leaving traces of her everywhere. She had left a mark on Sarah and me, but she was too young to have left her mark on the world. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair. I wanted everyone to see her, to know her, to feel the impact of her short existence. On a post in the woods, we left her old shoe. She learnt to walk there. On a jagged stone wall, we left a buttercup. She always stopped to pick them on our family walks. On a roundabout in a playground, we left her toy microphone. She said her first word on there. ‘Sing’.…