By (c) Pamela M Brooke 2005

 John frowned with irritation as he drove his car into the village of Little Breely, wondering what on earth had possessed him to come back here after so long. He drove slowly down the main street of the village noticing the small shops still there after twenty years, looking much the same as they had done back then.

 The village post office where Miss Nutting had been the postmistress for as long as people could remember, the butchers still advertising home fed pork, the bakery, he smiled as he remembered the lovely fresh loaves and cakes they had sold, on past the small thatched cottages and then out of the village for about quarter of a mile until he pulled his car into the side of the road and stopped.


 Sighing he got out of the car and gazed around him at the rolling fields so lovely in the autumn glow and then at the pathway in front of him, practically covered over with brambles and weeds. He picked his way along the path, the thorns catching at his expensive suit as he made his way along until he came to an iron gate, now rusty and hanging on its hinges. He pushed it open with some difficulty and walked slowly towards the house. The windows boarded up and the paint peeling, neglected and uncared for he remembered how it used to be with shining paintwork, pretty curtains at the windows it’s whitewashed walls and thatched roof, sadly now in such bad repair. Sighing he walked past and up the side of the house to the back.


Stretching in front of him was the long back garden knee high in weeds and the big oak tree at the end with the swing still hanging somewhat lopsidedly from its huge branches. He clutched at his chest at the pain he felt as he remembered how he had brought his new wife Mary, his darling and the light of his life to this house after their marriage twenty five years ago. The garden had been her delight. She had rose gardens in the centre with a beautiful lawn surrounding the circular bed and each up each side herbaceous borders full of cottage garden flowers which had fill the air with their perfume.  He remembered how she had loved him pushing her gently on the swing in the long summer evenings and how she had shyly told him one night that they were going to have a baby.


 How happy they had been, planning for this new little life. He wasn’t much of a handyman but he had relished in the task of decorating the small room at the back of the house over looking the garden with the nursery wallpaper they had carefully chosen, and furnishing the room with a lovely cradle and white chest of drawers mobiles, pictures and cuddly toys .He remembered and all the lovely baby clothes lovingly wrapped in tissue paper, the endless looking at names in a baby book and deciding what they would call their little treasure when he or she arrived.


Tears poured down his face as he went across to the wrought iron bench that they had laughingly christened their’ love seat’ and he gasped as the pain seared through him again as he remembered.

 Mary had woken him early one morning and said excitedly,’ it’s happening John, I've started.’  She sat there serenely as he frenziedly gathered together her little suitcase that had been packed for weeks and then guiding her gently down the stairs and into the car driving them to the hospital. Then the long hours of waiting and wondering, trying to find out what was happening until at last the doctor had come towards him with such a grave look that John had caught his breath in dread.

 ‘I’m sorry’ the doctor had said ‘I’m afraid we have lost them both, I’m so dreadfully sorry.’  He had take John by the arm and into a room where his beloved Mary lay with his son in her arms looking as though they were both asleep.’ It was a long and difficult birth said the doctor, we did all we could...... but John didn’t hear any more. He had walked out to his car and driven back to their lovely home except now it was desolate and empty.


After the funeral, he had ordered  the house to be secured and boarded up and after packing a few belongings he had left vowing never to return. He had concentrated on building up his business empire and had become a lonely sad embittered man, with no friends or family.

 Today was the first time he had been back and again he wondered what on earth had led him to come back after twenty years bringing himself all this pain again, it was as raw in his chest as it had been twenty years ago and he bent over holding his arms close to his chest sobbing. Years of pent up emotion flowed out of him.

 Suddenly he heard a voice saying his name, ‘John.’

 He looked up and to his amazement there stood his beloved Mary holding in her arms a beautifully baby with blue eyes and golden curls, ‘Mary?’ He asked and looking around he was again speechless as he saw their beautiful garden, no longer a wilderness but full of flowers, perfume, birds singing, just as it used to be.

‘Come darling,’ said Mary holding out her hand. ‘We have waited so long for you John, come darling we are going home.’

 The next day two policemen in a passing patrol car saw the BMW parked at the side of the road and decided to investigate. They walked round through the weeds and brambles to the back and saw a figure on the bench. They knew at once he was dead, but as they lifted him they saw that he had the most beautiful smile on his face.





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