Tuesday Snippet – It Won’t Happen Again

Miss Prentice, there before the fight got out of control, positioned herself between them. It was only when her radio was lifted, that Chris reached for Martha’s offered arm.

‘Sorry Miss, we’re all good I promise,’ Chris said.

‘I tripped down the stairs, and Chris was worried that’s all.’

‘Steph, I’d advise you to stay away from Chris. The same goes to you. I don’t want to put you both in solitary, do I?’

Steph shook her head, and with a quiet nod to her friends, walked to the far end of the room. Most of the tables were full by now, but Martha managed to find a seat where Chris could calm down.

‘The bloody bitch, how dare she push you!’

‘I’m fine, I’ve had worse, but you need to calm down. Miss is right, you don’t want to go into solitary, not because of Steph anyway.’

‘No, I’d rather stay with you. The voices in my head don’t have a single good thing to say about me.’

Martha laughed, leant back, and crossed her legs under the table. ‘Totally forgot lunch with all that commotion.’

‘I’m not really hungry.’

‘I am, wait there and save my seat. Do you want the usual?’

‘I’d say liver and onions, but that’s tough at the best of times. No I’ll have the shepherd’s pie.’

It wasn’t long before Martha was back, their food on the table. She ate her dinner without even thinking. Chris had pushed her full plate away.

‘Aren’t you hungry? You didn’t eat much at breakfast either.’

‘Migraine again. Mum suffered with them too. When I was young, she was talking to her friend on the telephone and then the next minute she was in a dark room, with the door shut. I don’t have them very often. It was probably Steph. She always brings my blood pressure up.’

‘Mine too, but let’s not talk about her.’

‘I was enjoying that session before all of this happened – not that I was any good.’

‘No Chris, I loved the different shades of green, brown and splashes of white. Reminded me of my little garden at home.’

‘Mum loved watching things grow, but dad poured weed killer on her flowers once. They withered and nothing, but white roses remained.’

‘Your colours were perfect then.’

Chris drank her black coffee and squinted against the bright sunlight. She shifted a little to the left and let out a sigh. ‘It’s funny what we see isn’t it. I would never have thought to put my father in the middle.’

‘I can’t remember painting him, but it was a good likeness. I preferred my earlier painting of him before he changed.’

 ‘Did you paint before then?’

‘I did, and I painted my father, Thomas, and one of Thomas and Laura and a few others. I was proud of them all. When I get out of here, I’m going to have a proper look through my chest. See what other things there are I’ve forgotten about.’

‘Chest?’

‘Thomas wanted me to throw all the unnecessary things away, but I couldn’t part with them. Instead I put them in the chest and into the loft. In a stupid way I thought that Thomas would transform into a butterfly, but he never did.’

‘Mum had one of those.’

‘I would have loved to meet your mum.’

‘She was a lovely woman, timid, always trying to please my father. She loved pottering in her garden. Spent hours out there. We had our own special spot by the wild blackberry bush at the back. We’d pick them for the pie she was making that evening. They tasted so good, but messy too – a bit like my painting.’

‘Messy isn’t a bad thing.’

‘You know better than I do, with men like my father and your husband, that’s what sets them off. What pisses me off was he made most of the mess.’

‘You were very young to take on such responsibility.’

‘I just thought it was normal,’ Chris said.

‘You shouldn’t have thought that way, you were just a child.’

‘How did this conversation get so depressing?’

‘It’s the painting. When I was in college I learnt about its therapeutic nature. I think I’ll go again, and I think you should too.’

‘I’m not like you Martha. You saw my attempt. It was like a five-year-old had grabbed a brush and painted a jungle.’

‘That’s the whole point and what I’d forgotten until now. Painting doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s like when you were a child and coloured in a book. Most of the time it wasn’t in the lines, but it didn’t stop it being beautiful. I kept every one of Laura’s paintings – every single one.’

‘Did you send the letter?’

‘I’m sorry. I know I promised, but I couldn’t.’

‘I know she’s angry with you, but someone has to make the first move. I didn’t get time to spend with Mum because she reminded me of my father. Now I would do anything to have that time back again.’

‘She hates me, and what I represent. When I couldn’t take Buddy, she thought it was because of Thomas, but it’s prison rules. She didn’t give me a chance and I didn’t give myself a chance.’

‘So ditch that first letter, tell her that, and talk to her honestly. About her father, you, and let her ask questions too. Don’t let my mistake be yours.’

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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