I wrote the following for the story plan activity 11.4, in which we had to plan and then write a 500 word story.
She felt herself slide into consciousness. She knew it was early, too early to get up and for a moment she lay there, willing herself to fall back to sleep. But she quickly acknowledged the futility of this. Something had woken her up as surely as if the alarm had gone off and she wouldn’t be dropping back to sleep for a while.
She slid quietly from the bed, taking care not to wake Leon and putting on her dressing gown, moved to the window seat behind the heavy bedroom curtains. She settled herself on the cushions, pulling the curtains closed behind her, creating a separate world where she could tackle the thoughts that had woken her.
It wasn’t surprising her sleep had been disturbed – tomorrow was a big day. Getting everyone to the crematorium, then back here, then feeding them, then making sure they all got off: she had to think it all through, make sure it all went like clockwork. She had been cooking for about 4 days – sausage rolls, quiches, cheese straws. She would be making sandwiches all morning. It had been non-stop since the death, getting everything arranged, contacting people, booking, ordering, deciding. She felt a surge of anger at her mother for doing something as inconvenient as dying when goodness knew she had enough on her plate at the moment.
The wave of anger swelled and gained momentum as she thought over how difficult Mother had made her life lately. The decision to move her to a nursing home hadn’t been an easy one, but she had made it so much more difficult than it had needed to be. Like calling the police to report a kidnap the day they took her there. It was just plain embarrassing. When had they swapped roles? When had she started being the mother? It hadn’t been like that before. Before what? Before Dad died? Was that when her mother had given up? She looked out of the window and realised that it was dawn. A new day. The day of her mother’s funeral. The woman who had carried her, care for her, fed her, clothed her, nurtured her, taken pride in her achievements, pushed her to be better – today that woman would be put in a box and burnt. That woman. Not the wilful, obstinate old lady of the last few years, but the mother she had loved as a child.
As the light outside grew stronger, so the anger and stress diminished, leaving in their place a grief so strong, so tangible it felt like an injury. She wondered what that sound was, before realising it was her, crying out in loss and hurt and loneliness.
The curtain drew back and Leon turned her into his arms, as her mother had done when she was a little girl. He stroked her hair and spoke to her, words she didn’t hear, she just felt their comfort.
She looked up at him. “I’m ready now”.