Life goes on - if you're lucky

Life goes on - if you're lucky

Lily is chasing her tail trying to make ends meet but she has a good heart and it's this good heart that keeps getting her into trouble.


Humorous fiction


Glynis West (United Kingdom)

I often wish I was a broad bean - all kidney shaped, smooth and green, lying in a silky cocoon, safe in my own little world. Well I did until some silly beggar came along and popped my pod!
If only I’d kept my nose out of other people’s business. I’d be sitting in front of my precious window boxes, talking to my bizzie-lizzies. Instead, I’m constantly looking over my shoulder for someone nasty to come along and whisk me away to parts unknown.
Sorry. This is my biggest problem you see - talking. I go rattling off at the mouth before I can put my sensible head on, so how on earth are you going to understand my predicament if you don’t even know who I am?
My name is Lilly. I’m thirty-five years old, a single mum from Plumstead in South London. I always think of myself as a size twelve but with my lifestyle I can’t eat enough to stay there. I hate my hair, which is totally uncontrollable and I’ve long since forgotten its natural colour – at the moment it’s Titian Red - nice. I’m trying to do my best though - keeping all my balls in the air at once, keeping everyone happy without dropping them – the balls that is.
I pay my way – well that’s only right isn’t it? I save every spare penny I make so that my Stevie can go to University. He’ll be the first one to make it in our family.
Our family are good at ‘firsts’. My mum was the first woman in our street to chain herself to some railings for what she believed in. Problem was, she didn’t tell anyone she was going to do it and left the key to the padlock on the kitchen table – not a great success.
My dad, who did his National Service like lots of other young men after the war, was the first man in his regiment to lose his rifle. He’d propped it up on the back of a lorry while he answered a call of nature, and the bloody lorry drove off! Laugh, I nearly wet myself when he thought I was old enough to understand.
My big brother, Alan, doesn’t need to be the first to do anything because everything he does turns out perfect. Go figure. He can speak three languages and passed all his exams with flying colours. He landed his first job with a big electrical company and now runs it. He never went to University though – Mum couldn’t afford it.
That leaves me. I was the first one to get pregnant without having a ring on her finger. Oops! But I stood up to all of them. I didn’t want to marry the drunken bum with the come-to-bed eyes anymore than I wanted to give up my baby for adoption.
Less said about that time the better. Caused a bit of a tidal wave but time heals wounds so they say.
But I did end up with my Stevie who is the kindest, gentlest person I know. He may not have his father’s eyes – thank God – but he does have my unfortunate hair, all curly and mousy-brown.
Steven is the main reason why I have two jobs and spend most of my time travelling between them, having said that, I do like helping people, especially the olds. My mums lost it now you see – Alzheimer’s. I had to put her in a home a few months back. Broke my heart to do that, but I couldn’t cope with her ways.
My mum, Alice, has always been a live wire. Any cause going and she would be there right at the front waving her banner and shouting louder than the rest. I wanted to keep that image of her in my mind, not the one where she goes off for a walk without her clothes on. That time, she’d forgot she was about to take a bath. So, between undressing and getting into the bath, she remembered there wasn’t any milk in the fridge and walked over to the corner shop! The mind boggles. It’s a good job we’ve got some lovely neighbours. They talked her back indoors and called me at work to let me know what had happened.
Alice is the other reason why I took my second job. The housing association said I could take over the tenancy of the flat where we lived, which was very nice of them, but it meant I had to pay the rent and the extra that mum needed to stay at the lovely home I found for her. It was the only one half decent that didn’t smell of boiled cabbage and pee that would take her - what with her funny ways an’all.
My brother Alan helped as well, but he had an expensive wife and two kids at private schools to pay for. Mum had to be in fourth place, or his life wouldn’t have been worth living. Weak is what I call him.
So, although my rattling on doesn’t exactly explain my predicament, it does give you a hint as to my state of mind that led me into it.
It all started when I answered an advert for a home care officer …

“I see from your application that you have a mother with Alzheimer’s and she is in a home?”
“Yes sir. That’s one of the reasons I need an extra job.”
I don’t like the way he’s looking down his nose at me.
“Where is it?”
“Where’s what?”
“The nursing home, Ms Stanton, where your mother lives?”
“Oh, sorry. It’s Ambleside House in Cleverly Street. Do you know it?”
“Very well. Several of my clients live in Cleverly Street.”
“That’s good. I could do them while I pop in to see Mum.”
He’s giving me that funny toffee-nosed look again.
“My clients are not housed in a home, Ms Stanton. What I mean is that they have their own homes in the same street.”
Christ, they must be loaded. All the houses in Cleverley are great big Victorian mansions.
“I see.”
I didn’t really see. If his ‘clients’ lived there they were definitely upper bracket. God knows what his fees must be because the hourly rate being offered to me wasn’t to be sneezed at.
“I see from your qualifications that you could be well placed in our organisation. Are you quite sure you wouldn’t be able to work for us full-time?”
“Yes sir. I can’t leave my other job. I pay into a pension scheme you see. Need to keep that going, plus the fact that I couldn’t let my ladies down.”
“Your ladies?”
“Yes, the ladies I look after. I’ve got to know them over the years and they don’t like change. It wouldn’t be good for them to have someone new to see to them. They can become easily confused you see.”
“Hmm. So, what hours could you give us Ms Stanton?”
I wish he wouldn’t keep calling me Ms Stanton. Makes me feel old.
“I work every morning during the week and three afternoons. I see my Mum Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, so that leaves…” I did a quite calculation in my head, “Weekends both days and nights, weekday evenings and in an emergency, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Mum’s getting worse, so she won’t miss me – at least I hope not. I need the money you see.”
“Quite. Are you sure you could cope with such a tight schedule?”
“Quite sure, Mr Madison. I’ve never been scared of hard work and I am a good worker. I never skimp on my tasks and I always make sure my ladies are happy when I leave them.”
“In that case, Ms Stanton, welcome to Madisons.”
“Thank you, Mr Madison, you won’t regret it.”
How was I to know that I would be the one to regret it?

Competition: Friendly feedback, Round 1



The reviews for this submission haven't been published yet.