by Maggie Scout


Jan and her best friend sat down to afternoon tea.  It was an unscheduled stop after a short day at work; an unexpected opportunity to catch up, so why not. Jan sensed an unspoken weariness in her friend and admired her for concealing it so well from others if not herself. Give it time. Time heals. Apparently. No ungratefuless meant but how many times had she heard that; ad nauseum.

Noah was with Aunt Kate and her friend had lots of space in her diary to do what she wanted when she wanted; if only she used it to her advantage.  Jan only wanted the best for this beautiful young woman who preferred sensible shoes these days.  They often laughed about the shoes thing; sensible and safe and comfy. Jan waited patiently for a glimpse of personality that would identify her friend as the carefree, happy, adventurer child she knew.   Nowadays there was nothing to stop her living the life she’d dreamed of but maybe she simply had to learn how.  Permission.  I don’t even know what that means for heavens sake and who am I to  be giving advice anyway …  maybe she just likes things the way they are?

Alice’s favourite lemon cake was the perfect accompaniment to the tea they ordered and they savoured every bite; choosing silence over speech, concentrating their senses on the memorable scent of citrus and a tangy taste that tingled their taste buds, melting away with the warm tea, ready for the next bite.  Delicious.  This lemon cake deserved their full attention and was far too tasty to be distracted by superfluous chat.

Jan noticed small cards on the table and picked one up, turning it over in perfectly manicured hands; recently applied burgundy nail polish, her favourite.  Maggie looked at her own hands and self-consciously removed them from the white linen tablecloth and hid them from sight.  She hadn’t really noticed before but today her hands seemed out of place and the thought saddened her.  Silly really.  

She lifted her head and caught Jan’s eyes; recognition but nothing was said.

It was no secret that Jan was forever seeking out nicely put together things and these delicate invitation cards were perfect.  They were embossed with images of books and her curiosity sprung into life. 

Oh these are nice! Sally’s handiwork?