My Bundle Of Joy: Part Forty-Four

This is the final part of a fiction serial, in 810 words.

They kept stopping the lockdowns, if only briefly. But that made little difference to me, as my dad was still wary of coming over, and Barbara didn’t bother to open the shop, only to close it again the next time. And the day centre decided to stay closed until such time as there was a vaccine, and everyone was safe.

I sometimes wondered about those essential workers who had children who went there. Other schools stayed open to provide education for the kids of those essential workers, but what about so-called special schools, and places like Leah’s?

There was no point me bothering to find out, as I had no job that was remotely essential, and I was fit and well enough to look after my own daughter. But I did have to deal with the fact that Leah was definitely too fat. Walking around the garden or up and down the street outside wasn’t going to cut it, so I started to drive a few miles to the Country Park, where I made Leah walk with me around the easy circuit that was only three miles in a circle back to the car.

Other walkers gave me a wide berth when they saw me leading Leah on her reins, so unwanted contact was not an issue. On days when the weather was decent, I would take our lunch, and then do the easy circuit again after we had eaten. The exercise was good for me too, even though I hadn’t put on an ounce. But even that soon became boring, so I decided to look for somewhere different.

We were not supposed to be going anywhere more than five miles from home, according to the new rules, but I had always reckoned my chance of getting stopped was slim, and I would try to use Leah as an excuse if it ever happened. So I found a place online, twenty miles east. It was a nice spot, with a picnic area next to a lake, and a woodland walk with a good path. My satnav had stopped working, and I had no idea why. But I wasn’t about to fork out for a new one, not as long as I didn’t need it for work.

I checked the route on my laptop, and it seemed straightforward enough. And it was. I found it easily, and had a nice few hours wandering around the lake including a picnic lunch on one of the tables provided. Nobody checked on me, or asked me why I was there. But on the way home, I had to go around a one-way system that I was sure wasn’t there earlier. I got hopelessly lost, and without realsing it, ended up driving the wrong way along a one-way street.

But then you already know that, Richard. Because that’s how we met.

When I saw the flashing blue lights in front of me, it took me a moment to realise it was a police motorcycle. Luckily, I managed to brake without crashing into you. Then you got off and walked over to my window, telling me what I had done. I just let it all out. Sobbing like some grieving widow, convinced I was going to lose my licence and never be able to drive again.

You were so kind. Calming me down until I was able to drive, and letting me off with a warning after taking down all my details. You didn’t even give me a fine for being so far away from home, and however much I thanked you, it wasn’t enough. You even let me follow you onto the right road, your lights flashing to warn other motorists. But the icing on the cake was when you rang me at home the next day, to make sure Leah and me were okay.

Giving you my email address and asking you to keep in touch seemed very forward. But what the hell, we were looking at a second year of lockdowns, and I was past caring. Then you sent me an email, so I had yours to reply to. I promised to tell you my story, and what had led me to that afternoon driving up a one way street the wrong way.

And that’s what I have been doing, all this time. Laying it all out, truthfully and sincerely, in the hope that we can finally meet when this is all over.

Still, it would be nice if you replied occasionally. I know you are busy of course. After all, you are one of those essential employees. I love being able to write to you and tell you stuff, and I have saved every email. It’s become a journal of my life, I suppose. I just hope you are reading them all.

You are reading them aren’t you, Richard?

The End.

41 thoughts on “My Bundle Of Joy: Part Forty-Four

  1. This was the right ending, Pete. Of course Richard will be there, and Angela’s lie will change. Not everyone is the glass half full like me, so leaving it open ended was a good choice. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I hope you liked it. I wanted readers to be able to decide for themselves if it was a sad or happy ending.
      Thanks so much for reading it all, and for your kind comments, Siobhain. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  2. I loved this story, and looked forward to it every day, but the ending! How could you Pete? From being strong and resolute she just crumbled. So, so sad. And it would have been good if Olly had some sort of retribution. Can’t you write some more to it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After more than 18 years on her own with Leah, crumbling was indeed what she did, Lucinda. Her need for close human contact and a lover became very important to her eventually.
      Retribution for men like Olly in real life is very rare, in my experience. I could have written some unfortunate demise for him, but I fear that would have been unrealistic. I changed my original ending to leave it open for some reader interpretation.
      Sorry to disappoint you, but I really appreciate you sticking with it.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I wondered all along how you were going to end this sad tale. I think it worked, with just a little bit of hope and optimism. “And they all lived happily ever after” would have seemed contrived after all that had happened.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The ending depends on your point of view, Pete.
      If I had read it, and not written it, Richard had never looked at a single email. πŸ™‚
      One reason I left it ‘open’, and changed my original very different ending.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. (1) Angela “had no job that was remotely essential.” For example, her job was not essential in the remote town of Jarbidge, Nevada.
    (2) Leah was asked at a press conference if she would be willing to walk a few miles in Country Park. Angela spoke in her behalf: “She’ll have to circle back on that.”
    (3) “Other ships gave me a wide berth when they saw me being pulled into dock by a fleet of tugboats.” (Queen Elizabeth II, author of “The Lonely Life of an Ocean Liner”)
    (4) Bad citation: “It was a nice spot, with a picnic area next to Loch Canablach, and a good path in the Foraoise Conriocht.”
    (5) “But on the way home, I had to go around a one-way system that I was sure wasn’t there earlier.” I checked in the “Historical Directory of British Roadways” and found that this one-way system was created by Roman legions. So it was definitely there earlier!
    (6) Angela was sobbing like some grieving widow who had just cashed in on her abusive husband’s multi-million dollar life insurance policy.
    (7) Bad citation: “But the icing on the cake was when you rang my doorbell, and handed me a cake with icing on it.”
    (8) Angela may be writing one-way emails.
    (9) Angela pondered whether wedding bells were in her future. “For Richard or for poorer…?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. An interesting serial from you Pete, getting into the female character cannot have been easy and I think you did an amazing job. I felt the last few episodes were a little rushed, but enjoyed them nevertheless. And whether or not Richard was reading the emails (I like to think not) Angela can be pleased that all your followers were. (Must admit I thought that perhaps Angela was going to be on a murder charge and explaining her story to Richard, her solicitor, after drowning Leah in the lake she drove to)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your idea would have been ‘black’, even for me. πŸ™‚
      It is hard to end a serial without it sometimes seeming to be rushed. If I had run this to 60 episodes, some readers might still have felt I had rushed the ending. How many more times could I have talked about pandemic restrictions that everyone knows about, for example? The meat of the story for me was in the failure of Olly to cope with a disabled daughter, and Angela’s determination to do the opposite.
      She was descending into a form of madness of course, and in my head Richard had never read even one email from a woman who was essentially ‘stalking’ him. This ending can actually be what readers want it to be.
      Glad to hear I did alright as a woman from the age of 30 onwards. It was a challenge, that’s true.
      I based this on many women in that situation that I knew quite well from my time in the ambulance service. Though most of those did not have the luxury of no mortgage, and a former partner who paid the bills.
      Thanks for sticking with it, Jude.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

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