Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Everyone's a winner

As Monty Python would say "And now for something completely different!" I am a firm believer in continually stretching myself so, not content with being up to our necks in book writing projects (with another new idea bubbling away for whenever the good lord sees fit to add an extra couple of days to the week!) I thought I'd try my hand at fiction.

This story was inspired by a real life discovery that I made in a ladies loo (see photo at the end) - when I saw the items I just knew there had to be a story behind them and as there's no chance I'll ever discover the real sequence of events which led to them being there, I thought I'd make up my own.  Hope you like it.

Everyone's a Winner


Laura licked the doughnut sugar from the corner of her mouth as a small blob of jam crept down her chin.

“You missed a bit” laughed Emily, pointing to her own chin to show where it was.

Laura picked up the napkin from the table and wiped her chin.

“Other side”

Laura tried again, this time clearing the offending jammy blob. “That’ll teach me, I really shouldn’t have had that.  Heaven knows how many Slimming World Syns there were in it!”

“Who cares?” said Emily, poring over the map “We’ve got another 2 miles ahead of us and that’s on top of the 8 we’ve already done” She fiddled around with the string on the top of her well packed rucksack, gently pressing her neatly folded top down inside so it didn’t catch on the toggle.  She leaned the rucksack against the table leg then tidied their plates away onto the empty tray and wiped the crumbs off the table with her napkin.

Laura peered out through the steamed up windows of the cafe into the slow drizzle of the late afternoon, the mist from the windows indistinguishable from the clouds beyond.  She pulled her chair in to let someone squeeze past “Why do they always cram the tables so close together?” she muttered “I’ve barely got room to breathe here!”

Emily smirked. “You putting your waterproofs back on?”

“Nah, too hot.  Well, maybe the top, but not the legs.  How hilly is the next section?”

“All flat” replied Emily.

Laura sighed, screwing up her nose as she peered out of the window again.  “How about we just give it 5 more minutes to see if it clears up?”

Emily clenched her jaw with irritation and wondered why Laura had agreed to come on the hike when all she’d done was complain about the weather.  She’d been in an odd mood all morning.  She watched as Laura tipped half the contents of her rucksack onto the floor of the cafe and rummaged through them looking for a hair band.  Locating one she slipped it on, pushing her loose blonde hair back off her face.  “That’s better” she smiled, haphazardly stuffing the contents back in and pulling the lid down tight.  “Damn!  Forgot my hat!” she muttered before repeating the entire process again.

Emily thought back to the networking event where they’d met just 2 weeks earlier.  They’d really clicked and had kept in touch with texts and messages since then.  Their shared love of hiking led Emily to suggest a 10 mile yomp around Derwent Water; it had been glorious weather when they planned it but today was the first dismal day in ages.

Glancing at the floor she noticed a small box half under Laura’s chair.  “You missed something” she said, using her foot to slide it closer before bending to pick it up.  She handed it over to Laura. Clear Blue Pregnancy Testing Kit.  “Anything you want to tell me?” asked Emily, smiling.

Laura’s face flushed.  They’d only known each other such a short time.  Emily reached over and put her hand on Laura’s arm.  “Honestly, just blurt it out, I promise you can trust me.”

Laura hesitated, biting her lower lip and searching Emily’s face for some sign of reassurance.

“Well, it’s like this” she finally began.  “We’ve been trying for kids for a little while and I think I may actually be pregnant, except now it’s finally real I am absolutely terrified.  I haven’t even told Pete.  I bought the test before I met you in Keswick earlier, but I’m too scared to use it.  I’m scared I might be pregnant and equally scared that I might not be; does that make any sense at all?”

“Sort of a Schrรถdinger’s baby scenario?” said Emily. 

Laura laughed “Exactly; if I don’t take the test then I am both pregnant and not pregnant at the same time.”

“What are you scared of?” asked Emily, her hand still resting on Laura’s arm and her hazel eyes never leaving her face.

“Everything” blurted Laura “I just don’t feel grown up enough to look after a baby.  I’ve killed every houseplant I’ve ever owned!”

“Babies are different” said Emily reassuringly “For a start you can’t leave them on windowsills unattended and I’m pretty sure you need to water them more than once a week.”

They both laughed.

“Seriously though” she continued “You can do this; millions of women have done it before you and there will be loads of people around to support you – Pete, your family, the nurses, your friends, me.”

“I know, I’m being silly”

“Not silly at all, this is the biggest change you’ll ever make in your life.  Of course you’ll be nervous, but you’ve got this; whatever the result of that test you’ll cope just fine.”

Laura smiled and put her hand on top of Emily’s.  “Thank you.  I just need to take a deep breath and pull myself together.”

“Tell you what” said Emily “When we get back to Keswick we’ll nip to the public loos in Booth’s and do it.  I’ll be right outside the whole time.”

“Deal”

As they trudged their way back into Keswick they talked about a million different things and none of them were baby related.  Crossing the bridge back into town Laura stopped again.

“I can’t do this.  I am so scared!”

“Wait there 2 minutes” said Emily, disappearing off into the nearby CoOp.  She emerged soon after clutching a small bottle of Shiraz and a scratch card.

“This is for Dutch courage” she said, waving the wine bottle “and this” waving the scratch card “is to give me something to do while you’re in there.”

Giggling like naughty school children they drank the wine straight from the bottle and raced to Booth’s before Laura changed her mind again.

“Right” said Emily “In you go.  I’ll wait out here and see how many millions I’ve won.”

Laura disappeared into the cubicle while Emily dug 2p out of her purse and started on her scratch card.

“You ok?”she called through

“Yup, just got to wait 2 minutes now”

“Can you remember the Countdown music?”  They both began giggling and humming together, finishing with a flourishing “did-di, did-di, diddly bum!”

“Well?” asked Emily

“Negative” said Laura, opening the cubicle door

“Same here; it would seem that we are neither pregnant nor millionaires.  How are you feeling?”

“I’m OK actually” said Laura, her voice muffled in Emily’s shoulder as she gave her a big hug.  “Thanks for being there.”

“No worries” smiled Emily “What shall I do with these?”  They looked around for a bin, but there was none.

“There’s a sanitary bin next to the loo” said Laura “It’s not perfect but we may as well just leave them there.”

“Fair enough” said Emily, placing the lottery ticket, the empty wine bottle and the pregnancy test on top of the bin next to the toilet.

“I think after all that we deserve a larger glass of wine; the Dog and Gun do great food too – you in?”

“Definitely” smiled Laura as they made their way outside and the first rays of weak sunshine finally broke through the clouds.