1st Prize: £75.00 Nicole Webb
2nd Prize: £50.00 Dan Lloyd
By Nicole Webb
It had taken her some time to actually write the announcement even though it was only a few words but it was for The Times newspaper after all, so she couldn’t write any old thing and these things had to be done properly if they were going to be done at all.
Jenny sighed, she still wasn’t sure of her wording but at least the basics were in place. She remembered back to her time in school, it seemed like eons ago but her shrill toned, shrew-like teacher had constantly berated her for going ‘all round the houses’ when it came to her story-telling.
‘Keep to the point Jenny, the story must flow forward and not meander aimlessly’.
She put the advert down, there were too many words and at this rate, the expense was going to be huge. Time was on her side however as the deadline for publication was a few days away and she knew that she would be pouring over the words in the coming hours. It was very important that the ad did what it was supposed to do and that the message was loud and clear. Something of that significance needed to have time spent on it.
Jenny stared out of the window whilst she waited for the kettle to boil. Her garden was small but unkempt and it was just one of the many jobs that needed doing since she had moved in. Discontentment hit her like a wave, she felt so lonely and so isolated. Her box-like house might be on a large housing estate but she saw no one. The neighbours seemed busy with their own lives and her dreams of sharing a cup of tea over the garden face whilst having a good natter had shrivelled and died.
As a child she had seen her mother chatting to all of the neighbours as she indulged in her gardening passion but then her mother was amazingly green fingered and everything she touched flowered in a burst of colour and enthusiasm. People had stopped to admire the abundance of colourful displays when they walked by and Jenny wished she had taken the time to learn, to study and to understand her mother more. Her own colourless garden made her feel nostalgic for the childhood that had been warm and full of giving.
When her father had died, Jenny had just rebelled partly with the shock of losing him and partly because she could. She had wanted to escape, make her own way in the world and not have to witness her mother’s devastation at losing her husband of thirty years. She couldn’t stand the endless tears, not when her own grief was tightly knotted together inside of her.
Switching off her emotions had been her salvation but also the cause of a great divide between her mother and herself. It was too late for regrets of course, because the chasm that had opened up between them seemed too enormous and now Jenny had moved whilst her mother still lived in the same rambling old house of her childhood. Happy times tinged with rebellion. Jenny realised that she hadn’t been a very good daughter.
Tea in hand, Jenny returned her focus to her advert. She had to make the announcement stand out, it had to say all the right things but in a simplistic way. That wasn’t going to be easy but space was limited as was her money and the advert wasn’t going to be cheap.
She had never been one for contemplation previously but her changed circumstances had made her grow up of late. Years of rebellion had finally given way to a maturity beyond her years; she felt thirty but in fact, was only just twenty five, a lifetime of experiences within a ten year span where she had cared for no one but herself. ‘Selfish, spoiled little girl,’ she could hear her mother’s contemptuous words lethally sharpened and enough to dent her self-imposed barrier.
Finally, when her mother had snapped and had packed her belongings up, Jenny had stormed out with all the fiery muster of a sixteen year old bent on hell-raising. That had been the last time she had seen her mother. Nine long years wasted.
Jenny turned back resolutely to her advert, time to focus, time to say the most important things and the rest would follow, hopefully later….
Hands trembling, she re-wrote the advert – a half page spread that could change her life: Melissa Talbot – You are cordially invited to the one year birthday party of Timmy Jonathon Talbot – 21ST December. She typed her contact number and then sat back in relief. It was direct and to the point and her mother would appreciate this formal approach, she so liked things to be done the right way. She would like the fact that Jenny had named her son after her father too, a sign of respect and love.
Jenny looked down at her sleeping son, and stroked his golden hair ‘You’ll soon be able to meet your Grandmother, my darling boy’ she said softly. ‘Fingers crossed’.