Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Friend (11/02/17)
By Danielle King
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We were just kids - regular kids, who loved to role play and make up stories. Our babies featured often; mine a chubby black girl named Chloe, and hers, Melissa, with peachy cheeks and blue eyes.
I was the eldest by nine months. Somehow that short span of time propelled me to dizzy heights. I was wiser and needed to look out for her. I was the leader and I played the part well.
I close the door. The chill is biting into these old bones. Funny how folk never recall being cold as youngsters. We played in the snow and skated on frozen ponds; and then returned home with rosy-red cheeks and soggy bottoms.
Life was hard yet life was simple, then, back in the day.
I shuffle to the front of the house. The sun shines full on into the conservatory and I start to warm up. I dislike this month; the angle of the sun, the darkness too soon, the shadows...
Fifty five years is a long time to remember. Will I ever forget?
I was an Easter school leaver. She had to stay on until August. “Well Nancy,” I joked. “Remember… I’m older than you.” We were young ladies now. The dolls long gone and our sights set on those gawky, young teens at the local church youth group.
I started work the week after I left school. An office full of women; hammering on typewriters, answering phones, discussing boyfriends, planning weddings and oh, how grown up I felt.
I stop to breathe. I rub my neck to ease the tension but it never leaves for long. Not in this week of November.
Sally from docketing came through to typing with a hand over her mouth.
“You OK Sal?” asked Joan. Sally’s eyes filled with tears.
“I’ve had a call from home. Something bad happened on the riverbank near my house.” The clicking typewriters fell silent.
“Is someone hurt, Sal?”
“I don’t know, Joan. Mum wouldn’t say, but Dad says not to leave work alone tonight. He’s meeting me outside.”
I listened intently but asked no questions. That night I left work and headed home on foot. One mile down the road I noticed a buzz of activity around the school building; parents hanging around, gossiping in the playground. Others were weeping. Whatever was going on?
I arrived home to find two police cars parked three doors away. I panicked and fled into my house, thankful to find mum and dad sitting on the couch. Two official looking strangers scribbled notes. “Come and sit down, Patsy,” Dad said, patting the couch.
We were a small, cosy, village community. We had a church, two schools and a park. Around the back of our village ran the river Balder, and over the lock- gates two lagoons provided hours of fishing for tiddlers and tadpoles.
Life was sweet, until that moment.
In the days that followed almost every adult male in the community was interviewed by detectives. At my house they lingered longer than most. Nancy was my best friend and soulmate. I loved her. And until that moment in time, I was a naïve and gullible kid.
I pause to mop the tears. Why do I torture myself still? Fifty five long years have passed.
The suspected culprit was known to the police, but there was no evidence. In the light of new investigative techniques, the unsolved case, like many others has recently been re-opened.
‘Be sure your sins will find you out,’* God’s word tells us. But what brings me far more comfort, is that Nancy and I had attended the church youth group long enough, not only to drool over the spotty lads we took a fancy to, but to be drawn in by the warm hospitality and openness.
I was a thinker and Nancy a doer. I pondered long and hard, while Nancy dived in head first. It matters not, as the end result was the same. Without coercion, we committed our lives to Jesus.
This dark day of foreboding is drawing to a close. I can’t answer why my memory torments me still. But one thing is certain. One bright morning, I shall be reunited with my dear, best friend, Nancy.
And now she’ll have the monopoly. I do hope she isn’t bossy!
*Numbers 32:23 King James Bible.
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