Short Story – Dreams and Shadows (Part 1)

She sat in her regular coffee shop,
Popped in for her usual Americano with pouring cream. It was a grayish summer day with spittings of rain here nor there. She went there when she woke up too early or there to just be in a different space. She liked being in her own bubble surrounded by people going about their business, she watched them scutter and scurry in hurries over mono blocked and square stone tiled paths. People on their phones, playing Pokemon go and shuffling their kids from shop to shop.

It was a large town, but the town center that once was bursting with business is now dying a slow rusty death. It was the town of the bairns; bairns being the nickname of the local born residents long given a great time ago. Its Kirk Wynd had stood for more than a hundred years. Buildings garnished with date stones from queen Victoria’s era, towering high in red brick stone, smashed next to modern adaptions. The full top half of the buildings said history but the shop fronts said “we’re hanging on in there”. Her coffee shop she recalled, used to be an early days pound store hurriedly put together while the downstairs seating area now very customer friendly used to be an Aladdin’s cave of cleaning products or other pointless knick-knacks. The shopping center, only two paces away from the coffee front had itself evolved greatly, looking like a 90s mall with a diverse “in-shops” right up the back of it vastness which also held a cafeteria that would look more at home in a school dinner sitcom than a shopping center. It was drab yellow, smoke stained and so were its lonely customers. All that was long gone replaced by an oversized Debenhams which she had step foot in it once for a whole 5 minuets till she realized this is a store for people that have money. In its history the shopping center “howgate” used to be the local old time swimming baths, which excited her thoughts and made her wish she had seen it. She remembers also learning this is where John Logie Baird did his first tests for his invention of the moving picture device. Also known as the Tv. She felt proud of this even if an American who had the idea at the same time got to the patent first. Now we’re lucky if we get an xfactor contestant to come turn on the Christmas lights at the beginning of November. She never went to those either.

She could see the Anne Summers sign just past all the pop up market stalls. What an irony she thought, that the place where the kangaroo club used to be is now an 18+ shop front. Her mum used to take her there a lot, she loved climbing up the high levels of the rope netted play gym. Sliding down slides, jumping in the ball pit and spinning down the fire mans poles that were bright yellow. She ignored the other children and was happiest in a world of her own. Because there, no one could tell her what the rules were and all games were permitted. Alas those days of stress-less play were gone, she was an adult now however she found ways to escape.

She painted for days, playing Metallica and or the offspring on constant via Youtube. She would read or write or fight with herself over an argument or point of view at nights when it was quiet. But her favorite nothing was with her daughters, lazily cuddling in bed watching movies or observing them play video games. Those are good days.

She took a sip of her coffee, Luke warm but she kept drinking. She was a mum and that was her thing.

So much had changed over the years, all her fears had evolved or died swiftly. She wondered where her life would go now, being almost 29 and fast approaching 30. She still had time to achieve her life goals but also make new ones. She looked up from her pen and pad for a moment, the bare tree swayed next to a flower basket hanging from the vintage looking street lights. “Pretty” she whispered aloud.

The pad had some scrawls on it.

– must revise ideas
– call doctor
– write and write some more
– flowers
– type up chapter 1

Usually it was just reminders but she felt productive writing them down. She had always wanted her voice out there even among all the millions of others. She hoped that she would stand out, that her honesty would be a rare trait while she harnessed her emotions. She knew it would be difficult yet she also knew this is what she wanted for her life and as a chance to have a happy job. There were only a few things she wanted more.

But that’s a story for another time.

As she finished writing an entry into her diary, her phone vibrated on the table. .she always had it on vibrate. opening the purple case up and swiping to answer ‘hello?’. ‘Yes, ,hello. My name is Anne Adderich, may speak to a Noella Daniels?’ the woman voice purred. ‘speaking” Noella replied. ‘ah good, i am calling in response to your application for writing assistant. I have looked over all your details and your portfolio. We would like to invite you in for a proper interview.’

Noella’s heart pounded with intense joy and the blood raced furiously around her body supercharging her endorphins but she kept it cool and professional on the phone. With a great smiled she replied ‘yea, i would love to. It would be excellent to have a chance to be interviewed. When would you like me to come in? Also would you like me to bring anymore materials from my writing past?’. Anne smiled down the telephone ‘ Next Wednesday would be great. By all means bring what you have and remember all your legal documentation as well.’ Noella chirped back ‘certainly! thank you! what time?’. ‘my apologies, it’s at 10am.’ Noella could hear Anne clacking away on her keyboard probably punching in confirmation notes. Anne took a audible breath ‘ right, that is you all booked in. I and my colleagues look forward to meeting and more of your work in person.’ Noella beamed a big smile ”And many thanks to you for your call and good news. It has made my day’. She hung up the phone putting it softly down on the table, pausing for a second before doing a small victory dance in her seat. she wanted to jump for joy that the fates had given her this massive chance at something real, something she’d enjoy and make a living from. Could it be? that someone out there is actually aiding my life somehow. Her mind became a frenzy of preparations, of choosing what to take with her and of what to wear. An interview of this magnitude couldn’t be messed with or anything left to chance. she HAD to get it or at least be noticed enough for them to recommend her to other companies that may have a suitable place for her, all she knew is that this was her destiny. Fears popped in and out of her mind as flashes of warnings or things needing done but relief that something good had happened gave her a warm comfort within her chest.

She took her all items from her table, stuffed them equally into her handbag, downed her cold coffee and made her way through the town that she admired….

…she returned home, bounded up the stairs straight to her wardrobe. She choose her grey suit with a black shirt, some silver jewellery and her special black scarf just in-case it would be a bit breezy.

Her phone rang, ‘Noella, it’s Art… somethings happened. Mums sick.” her joy turned to dispair, ‘what!? what’s going on? – nevermind i’ll be right there’. She hung up the phone on her brother, marched down the bare hardwood stairs like thunder rumbling in close proximity and grabbed her hand bag. Next thing she knew she was sat in the beeming bleak white walled waiting room of the local accident and emergancy. ‘She couldn’t stand right, things are-‘ he sighed heavy ‘not good.’ Noella gave him a smile ‘She’s a fighter, i believe in her. Oh, i got a an interview tomorrow for a writing assistant job at this big publishing place’ Art raised his eyebrow ‘well, congrats but er, selfish much?’ she bawked at him in disgust. ‘sorry, i do believe i am an adult trying to shed light on this bleakness. so go ahead keep shitting all over it for me as usual….. least i am trying’
He growled ‘bitch’ under his breath. she almost raised a hand to her older siblings but she let it go, ever giving into her good side.
‘I’m getting out of here. for real, me and my lady are taking a perminant vacation to some other country…” Noella thought better but politely stated ‘ sure, happy for you… will that be after the inheritance check? ‘ his faced reddened. ‘ah, see called it. Now who’s selfish, brother.’
Art stormed off, a great bouncing lump of a man that their mother often nicknamed zebidi from the magic round about because of the walk he walked.

A doctor approached her midway through a good novel, ‘Ms Culwood, your mother is stable.. but there’s some things we need to discuss in private’ Noella nodded and followed the doctor to the private room.

She cried….. overshadowed; clouds wandered in over her head pouring rain like her soft salty shards streaming down her face…




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