This is the first part of a fiction serial, in 765 words.
Mike and Edna.
By the time Michael Hollingsworth had finished his basic training, the war in Europe was almost over. He missed the celebrations in England though, as he was now part of the army of occupation, in the British sector of Berlin. At least they had taught him to drive, and to fix and maintain the trucks that he drove around, delivering supplies to various units stationed in the defeated country.
Lots of the soldiers took advantage of the situation. You could get a woman for the night for some cigarettes, sugar, or tinned food. The Jerries were desperate, and many were living in cellars, or in rudimentary shelters inside the rubble of the destroyed buildings. Not Mike though. He didn’t want to know about those women, or trying to make money by bartering for souvenirs or jewellery.
All he could think about was getting home, to be with his beloved Edna.
They had been together more or less since they were children. Living in the same street, playing with the same bunch of kids, and going to the same school until they were fourteen. The war didn’t really spoil their childhood that much, as living in Essex close to the Cambridgeshire border, they were sixty miles away from the bombing in London. Though the nearby American air bases made them very aware of the war, as well as the kids from London who had been evacuated and had swelled the numbers of the school.
Mike was twenty when he got home, and him and Edna didn’t waste any time. They got married two days after he was discharged from the army, and moved in with Edna’s mum. It wasn’t long before he found himself a job as a lorry driver, doing deliveries for a company in Chelmsford. They moved to the much larger town, and rented rooms above a hardware shop. Edna got a job working in the Co-op shop, which was on the opposite corner. They had never been happier.
It wasn’t long before the company asked Mike to help out fixing their old lorries, and he soon found himself appointed to senior mechanic, no longer having to drive around the county. Just as well, as Edna was expecting. Little Brenda was born in the spring of nineteen-fifty, and became their pride and joy. But with Edna stopping work, Mike’s plans to buy a car had to be put on hold. He carried on using his cycle to get to work, and put down to do overtime on Saturdays, hoping to save for the car he wanted so badly.
Over the next few years, things didn’t get much easier. No sooner had Edna gone back to work once Brenda started school, she fell pregnant again. This time there were lots of complications, and Mike could no longer work on Saturdays as he had to look after Brenda, and help out around the home. And with a baby on the way, they finally got high enough up the list to be offered a small council house on an estate. The extra space and small garden were welcome, but the rent was more than they had been paying. On top of that, Mike’s journey to work was fifteen minutes longer each way.
Not long after they moved in, Edna lost the baby. The doctors told her she would almost certainly never have any more, and she shouldn’t be trying anyway, in case she brought harm to herself. As she recovered from her grief, Mike took on some cash jobs, repairing cars and motorbikes in the street outside the house. But he could only do that in good weather, and not that many people around them owned cars in the first place.
Edna got her old job back, and took the bus into town. She finished earlier, so she could collect Brenda from school. That meant Mike could go back to working on Saturdays, and very soon his savings account in the Post Office was looking very healthy. When she turned eleven, Brenda started at secondary school, one on the estate, not far from home. She was given a doorkey, and Edna told Mike she would go back to full-time hours.
One day when he got home from work, Edna had exciting news for him. “My manager is selling his car, love. It’s a Ford Prefect, and only nine years old. He said we can have first refusal”. Mike looked at her as if she was crazy.
“I’ve waited this long, so will wait a bit longer. I want a new car, not some old one”.