Authors: Beryl Matthews
Tags: #General Fiction
Around one o’clock people began to drift off home after having a great time. When the last one had left, they sat down amongst the debris and had a quiet cup of tea to recover from all the excitement.
‘Just look at the mess.’ Daisy was now back to full health, and was so happy to know that the man she loved was going to recover from his terrible injuries at last.
‘Close your eyes, Mum,’ Ruth laughed. ‘Just pile it in the sink and we’ll clear it up tomorrow.’
‘It’s tomorrow now.’
‘So it is.’ She smiled, but felt a pang of sadness. This was the day Bob was leaving, and how strange it would seem without him around all the time.
It was ten o’clock when Ruth woke up, and one glance at the clock had her tumbling out of bed. He wouldn’t have gone yet, would he? She couldn’t bear it if she didn’t have the chance to see him before he left.
Dressing hastily she ran downstairs, and was relieved to see him with everyone else. ‘Oh, I overslept, and was so afraid you would have gone without saying goodbye.’
‘I wouldn’t have done that. I’d have dragged you out of bed.’
She laughed with all the others, suddenly feeling shy. He was looking smart in his best suit, and had his bag with him, ready to leave.
Standing up he slung his bag over his shoulder, his attention on Steve. ‘Don’t overdo things, and I’ll see you in four weeks’ time. I’ll stay for two days so I can see you and the other men. Eddie, you know what to do.’
‘Yes, Bob, I’ll keep on massaging Dad’s back like you taught me.’
‘And see he takes it steady. You have my permission to tell him off if you think he’s doing too much.’ When Eddie nodded and smirked, he said, ‘I’ll be on my way then.’
They all followed him to the door and spilled out on the street to wave him on his way. Each one said their goodbyes, and when it came to Ruth, Bob hugged her tightly, kissed her on the lips, and said softly, ‘I’ll be back soon.’ Then he turned and walked away.
Watching him stride up the road reminded her of the troubled boy who had left like this so long ago. That boy had been angry, lost, and had no idea where he was going. The man disappearing up the road now had fought his battles, knew who he was and where he was going.
She hoped his future would include her, but that was something only time would decide.