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Elsie

Page 5

Her legs suddenly warmed with a liquid heat. The nightie clung tight to her thighs. Elsie knew she was tired and her bones were getting angry, but it wasn’t far now. Yawning, purpose-driven, her march remained stubborn. Not long until Roger would meet her at the station, under the clock, hands fumbling with that old sailor’s hat he kept as a reminder from his time in the British division. He had been a sailor; she remembered how he’d taught her to navigate the ocean, the rhythms of the water….

She closed her eyes tight to remember, trying to bang on the black box of her memory. It was so cold. He would make her jasmine tea and they would rest, finally together, after years of planning. She could rest in her house. She was reclaiming her life, taking back what was hers. Her life, her Roger. her home.

Elsie’s feet were wet with sweaty anticipation, her legs clammy and fluid. Her heart thundered, toes slippery, the old green rug giving little traction as she felt her balance waver.

‘Mrs. Martin?’ The plump female nurse spoke gently. ‘Love?’

Her arm was being guided off course and her brow folded in confusion. She was so close she could see her garden, smell her pine trees, fresh like an autumn day. Roger’s face was up ahead, waiting, outlined by a silver frame. She was nearly there, almost there.

‘Mrs. Martin? Time for tea, love.’

Elsie was steered to a white plastic chair. She sat down and brushed the windswept hair from her forehead, her foot crunching a leaf on the floor. After a strangled breath she sighed in contentment. Her schemes were ready: tomorrow, she would go. A knowing smile spread across her face and she sipped from a blue-belled tea cup.

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