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The Blue by Maggie Gee

The Blue by Maggie Gee

Author:Maggie Gee
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781846591341
Publisher: Telegram Books


Ring-barking

A shadow passed the end of the garden. A flicker of movement, a blur of black.

Una never complained, she never cried. This was the thing she tried to hold on to: her loss was not special, nor was she: she would ask no favours, bother no neighbours: no, she was English, she would be stoic. After all, the British had lost an empire. But her road, Woodbine Road where they had lived forever (although she had never liked the name, and had got up, two years ago, a committee of residents who tried to persuade the council to change it, to Vine Avenue or Flowerfall Lane) – the road where they bought their first house together, not dreaming that it would be their last, the road where they lived was no longer British, she thought, grimly staring out of the window at the place where once she would have seen him digging, his fair thinning hair, his old pullover. Now there was nothing. The cold blue yew.

Then a shadow passed the end of their garden. A flicker of movement, a blur of black.

She could not quite define what had happened. Behind the yew, by the sycamore tree. Blacker than the still, sodden yew tree, blacker than the poisoned ground beneath. But darkly fluid, live as a breath. A kind shadow. A friend, Una thought, and her spirits lifted. Something alive.

Since her husband died, aged forty-four, stupidly young, though he was older than her, she had stayed inside, out of the light, hardly able to walk, unable to talk, paralysed by the blow that had fallen. Sawing and hacking her world to nothing, leaving her in a cast of pain. Her whole body was immobilised, her face heavy, like a mask of wood. After all, they had been married for two decades. Two decades of waking and sleeping together.

She had lost her job five years ago, when the bank closed down their local branch, and George had been a rock to her, telling her he liked to have her at home, after all he earned enough for two of them, and for children too, for at the time they were still hoping ... Her new blank days had been bright with hope, hospital visits, tests, hormones, a flurry of buds and leaves and sunlight, imagined faces, the sweetness of names, doodled pet names for those faint dream-children.

Well, in the end, they never came, and five years later, George had gone. Half a lifetime of loving plans; somehow it left her here with nothing. What could she do with the life that remained? Every day she woke slowed and deadened, clinging to her thin wedding ring for comfort.

Last night, though, she had dreamed of flying. There was light, and ease, and kind unknown hands waving her off into warm blue air. Una woke knowing that something had changed.

Autumn was coming. Apples, berries. She actually made herself a bowl of porridge. Adding dried berries, which plumped and moistened. The packet promised her a long healthy life.



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