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Chapter One

PART ONE

Martha

15th September 1984.

The day I’ve been waiting for finally arrived – my wedding day. I was nervous, but what bride isn’t? I planned my special day down to the last detail. Church, venue, and  wedding dress.  I didn’t want to spend too much on my gown. Thomas said I deserved the best. It cost two hundred pounds. Such a lot of money, especially when we had to save for the maisonette. I must admit, I felt like a princess.

Before I left the house, I looked outside my window, and saw the oak tree in the field across from my home. Strong roots gripped the earth. It had lived hundreds of years before I climbed through its sturdy branches. It would live for hundreds of years more. Along with Dad, it was my inspiration to paint for the first time.

I wanted to give him something special, for his fiftieth birthday, but couldn’t afford to buy anything. I decided to draw and paint my constant reminder of him. I took Donny Osmond, out of his frame. Pinned him on the wall instead.

He said it was brilliant and put it in our front room. There were five paintings in total. He kept all of them – including the one of him. When he died, I thought Mum got rid. She was lonely without him. They were a constant reminder of him passing. It was only when I packed away for my new home, there they were, wrapped in muslin and a red bow.

Mum hadn’t thrown them away after all.

I went to pieces when Mum died. It was all my cousin James, and best friend Lucy, could do to make me leave the house. I’m so grateful to James. With his persistence I met Thomas. He said that Mum and Dad would have wanted me at his wedding, so  I decided to go.

I wore a mask of my old self that day. Redid my purple highlights. Wore my favourite Azure top, and white jeans. I smiled for the camera, had too much to drink. I even let Lucy drag me on the dance floor. We danced until our feet ached.

It was when I was outside for a breath of fresh air, my heel broke. I looked for Lucy, but she had gone inside. Alcohol mixed with memories caused my melancholy mood to return. I couldn’t stop crying. What a state I must have looked.

Thomas sat beside me. A few years older, in a snappy suit. He wrapped his arms around me. Called me his little project. I should have pushed him away, but his shoulder felt so comfortable.

He carried me back to the reception. Lucy stayed with us for a little bit, but the last dance of the evening was spent in his arms. Thomas gave me a reason to smile again. He understood my pain. We talked into the early hours. Were the last to leave. James told me afterwards he had never seen me so happy.

So why can’t he be happy for me now?

He wouldn’t walk me down the aisle. I’d asked him, but he refused point blank. Not wanting to give up, I’d sent him an invitation. Got nothing back. Thomas said, we couldn’t put him in the floorplan, because numbers were so tight. It was up to James to grow up.  If he couldn’t be happy for me on my wedding day, then I shouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

Yesterday, just as I was leaving my old home, he turned up. Lucy let him in. I thought he had changed his mind, but he just wanted me to change mine. He said some unforgivable things about Thomas, so I pushed him out of the door. If I don’t speak to James again, it will be too soon.I hesitated at the entrance of the church because of him.

Published by writerravenclaw

I am a fifty something mother of two grown up children, and one beautiful grandchild. I have been married for nearly thirty-four years. My first book was published ten years ago. I wrote my book Sticks and Stones because of my experience of being bullied at school.

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