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September 2017, vol 13 no 3

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Beth Buckley

Single Ticket

The tear-off slip, for return to the school, was only ever for one ticket. Widowed young, he watched his daughter’s school plays and orchestral performances with pride, but also with sadness that he could not share these with her mother. Driving his little girl to Brownies and Nursing Cadets, pony riding lessons and ballet class, he wistfully watched other parents talking together about their offspring.

It seemed that suddenly she was a woman and there were no more hill walks or Cotswold Cream Teas. Nostalgia for wet afternoons in the museum, feeding the ducks, driving to Wales to visit family and playing duets on the piano. No more homework to check, packed lunches to make or taking the dog out together.

Looking in at her unusually tidy bedroom, he wished for the clutter and chaos a teenage girl had brought. Hoping for the phone to ring with news of university studies, hobbies and friends, he looked at her mother’s photo, willing her to speak. He felt a lone observer to his growing daughter’s unfolding life.

the garden birds visit in pairs . . .
still boiling the kettle for two