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New Horizons

by R Flack 

Posted: 18 September 2007
Word Count: 1201

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New Horizons

Mrs Noble loved Tuesday’s it was her hairdresser day, she would make her way down the steep hill and open the door of the saloon and would see the same people every week this was comforting and friendly. The banter would begin over hairdryers and hairspray. Of course anyone over fifty would call it hair lacquer and the new assistant wouldn’t be sure what they were asking for. Or sadly on some days they would be missing one, the latest to go was Florence. They all missed the passing of their friend and the owner Betty had tea and a scone for all her regulars to mark the sad time.

After a time when everyone had said their piece on how wonderful Florence was and no one knows the time or place, the mood changed and the usual chatter began. Betty stood in the back and smiled sometimes she wasn’t sure whether she was running an old person’s drop in centre or hairdressers. Anna the new start came through the curtain complaining “They seem more interested in their teas than their hair” Betty laughed “It’s like this every week you know, the old dears like the company”. The look on Anna’s face, Betty knew she wouldn’t stay long; the pensioners’ special wasn’t what she had in mind when she had joined a saloon.

“So has your son come back off his holidays then Mrs Holmes?” she nodded and set down her cup the contents being too hot “He has they went to Majorca this time awful hot they said” she beamed at being asked a question, she was a timid old thing. She realised the girl had spoken “No I don’t go on holidays these days, are you?” that made the young girl talk for ages on were her and her boyfriend were going. Mrs Noble was just thinking it wasn’t like that in her day when the tinkle of the door went and Ms Kerry came in.

She had her niece with her a lovely girl of about nine with big bright eyes and lovely long blond hair. She sat quietly in the corner and took out a book and Ms Kerry was brought to the basin. All eyes were on the little girl who sat engrossed in her book and oblivious to everyone looking.

Mrs Forbes managed to make eye contact “Ms Kerry how are you? You got Claire with you I see” she smiled “Yes I have her for a few days” She obviously wanted to know more tried to steer the conversation towards why, but didn’t want to appear nosy. “So isn’t that nice for you a bit of company, I suppose she’s on school holidays now”.

Ms Kerry wasn’t a fool and was aware why she was being questioned “She’s on a bit of a break; her parents wanted me to look after her for a few days because there was an incident at home”. This was gossip and they unconsciously leaned forward to find out more. “The house was broken into and they didn’t want her to be scared, with the forensic people round”. “Shocking” said Mrs Holmes, Mrs Forbes took a deep intake of breath through her teeth “See these things are happening all the time, where they home at the time?” she shook her head “No thankfully not, but they have leads someone saw a young person coming out of the house”.

“Typical, it’s usually a young person, see young ins you cant watch them steal your eye teeth so they would” Mrs Forbes took a deep breath. Anna who had given a cup of tea rolled her eyes, “It may not be a teenager you know, some older people burgle as well”, Betty called her into the back room and everyone looked at the curtain and strained to hear.

She was thinking about her grandchildren as she got off the bus. Children got off at the same time and bustled past her their hoods up and big trousers hanging from their waists and their underpants coming over the top of the trousers. She made her way up the hill towards her house. The estate was full of children as usual; their mums looked on from open doors. She was always frightened in case a child ran out in the road the cars going round so fast.

She got her keys out of her bag she had to delve deep and first she had to pull out a spare plastic bag and tissues but finally she located her key. She held them and she turned round quickly and saw one of the children turn away from the rest and follow her, she opened her gate fast and walked quickly to her door, and had the key in the lock when “Mrs Hello” her heart was in her mouth, she turned round the child must have been about twelve “What I don’t have any money?” the child laughed and pulled down the hood, she had thought he was a boy but was shocked to see beautiful curls fall from the hood “I know you don’t here” in her hand was a fiver she gave it to her, and moved back through the gate and turned round. “You dropped it when you got your keys out, I noticed it” she said proudly. The girl closed the gate and put the bolt through “Bye then Mrs” and with that she put back up her hood and walked towards her friends.
The following Tuesday when she was having her cup of tea at the hairdressers she looked at the assistant with new eyes. When the conversation turned as it often did to the collective annoyance of young people Mrs Forbes started the discussion off on how she had to move a few away from her front door step “Just because I live in a flat they think they can just hang around my front door” after some time of general moaning and groaning she announced “Something happened me last week” and explained in detail how much the young child had restored her faith in young people her companions were shocked. “Were you not frightened big gangs of them hanging around doing nothing”.

“Maybe that’s the point ladies” everyone looked at Mrs Noble who had got out of her seat and was about to pay “Maybe instead of pushing these children away and saying they have nothing to do, perhaps we should tip our thoughts the other way and think why are we not giving them enough to do, should we not provide play parks and things” the general grunts of “They only wreck and break everything” she opened the door “Think about it though ladies, if we were all generalised as a pack of old moaners with nothing better to do than tut at the young would you not feel cross”. She made her way to a café thinking maybe she could do some voluntary work at the local school instead of getting her hair done every week. As the tea arrived she was thinking of the new friends she may meet and smiled, looking forward to new friends, and new adventures.

Word Count 1,199

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Comments by other Members

Trix at 22:49 on 01 February 2008  Report this post
I liked the sudden build of tension in the description of Mrs Noble entering her home. The character of Mrs Noble is likeable and I cared about what happened to her in the story. Very good observation of everyday people.

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