Alone Time

It was different with no-one else in there. Not empty – well, not exactly – but bereft of people, other people. But the carpet was thick and dark red and light flooded through the windows and her voice probably would have carried if she had sung a line or two, but she wasn’t about to do that. Singing was for the shower, and only occasionally for there, and anything else was making a spectacle of yourself or it was embarrassing, or both at the same time, or perhaps it wasn’t possible to be both at the same time. She wondered. Sometimes she sang when she cleaned the house. She put on music and sang and even danced a little and she encouraged her little daughter to move to the beat too, and the little girl was only too willing to jump and do steps and run around in little circles and sing along with mum. Singing would end when cleaning was complete though, and it would only start if no-one else was around. Alone, at home, with her daughter, with little Millie. But not here. Not now. School children walked past outside, talking excitedly. The school day had ended. The volume of children pushing, shoving, running and throwing balls at each other grew and so did the sound. But it didn’t intrude, not much, not really. She sat still with Millie and she had a thought deepy, and she patted Millie on the head, slowly and gently, with a kind of deliberation that made the little girl sit still and let her mum continue to stroke her and touch her and run her fingers through wispy hair made white by the flooding light.

The little girl fidgeted now. She wanted to play too. The sounds of outside were thrilling. She squirmed and tried to get off her mother’s knee, but her mother held her closer, and pleaded with her to keep still. Her mother inclined her head and whispered into the girl’s ear, and the little girl took a silver coin and walked up to the front of the room. The woman looked down at the floor and she closed her eyes tight. The girl dropped the coin into the box, picked up a candle from the container and attempted to light it from an already lit candle among the ranks of lit candles in the brass candle holder. The girl had to reach over the small rows of fire to put her candle in the only spare spot at the back. It burned her hand and arm as she reached, and the flames began to melt the bottom of her candle, and hot wax began to run down to her wrist. She gave a little shriek just as Father Diggins walked into his church.

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Published in: on February 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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