Old Mrs Coe
Everyone towered above her, blanking out the light, hurrying to reach their destination. No time for manors, deeply focused on their own journey and ignorant of others.
Of course they could not see her, hidden so far down below tucked away in the shadows.
They had been late leaving today. The rain did not help either. The path was slippery underfoot, leaving her with no time to navigate a safe passage through the many puddles.
She wanted to pause to catch her breath but every time she reduced her pace she felt the sharp tug from her mother’s arm, pulling her along. To stop was to loose time.
‘No time for dawdling today darling,’ she said ‘so much to do and no time to do it all.’
They turned into the quiet road that led to her primary school. School insight her mother instinctively reduced her speed, the stress of the first battle of the day gone.
Hand in hand they walked down the quiet street lined with weeping willows and bungalows adjourned with immaculate gardens, lovingly maintained and in full bloom.
Suddenly she stopped dead in her tracks. Her mother’s firm grip unable to propel her on any further.
No. Something is not right, something is wrong today, she thought to herself.
‘What on earths up with you?’ demanded her mother, clearly not impressed.
‘Old Mrs Coe was not there today mammy.’
‘Old Mrs Coe was not there today. She is there every day.’
‘Who is old Mrs Coe?’
‘A kind old lady, she smiles and waves at me every morning from her kitchen window. She was not there today.’
‘Oh come on that’s ridiculous. You have school young lady.’
Her mother gripped her hand and started walking. No something was wrong. She dug her heels in and refused to budge.
‘Something is wrong mammy,’ she pleaded with her mother ‘we need to check’.
‘For god’s sake,’ her mother muttered but she led her by the hand to the house and knocked gently on the door. There was no answer.
‘Look. That’s the window she stands at,’ she said pointing to the long bay window at the end of the house.
Peering inside her mother let out a low ‘oh no,’ before turning to face her daughter.
‘You be a good girl and go sit on the wall. Mummy just needs to call for an ambulance.’
Craig Wrightson 2018