Tell A Tale in 500 Words

New Life by Jackie Thomas By Jackie Thomas


“Sorry.” My eyes flew open and I gazed into a pair of crinkly eyes.

“I wondered if you would like a carton of juice? My daughter packed me so much for the journey and I have sandwiches too, if you are hungry.”

I dragged myself back to reality. “Er no thank you. I’m fine.” I sniffed, wiping the wetness from my cheek.

“Are you alright dear?” She sat down and patted my arm.

“I’m fine. Just a bit of a cold.” I stood up. “I need the loo. Back soon.”

Luke and I had known each other since Junior School. We had been neighbours, classmates, best friends and I loved him. I had always loved him and I was sure he loved me too but didn’t know how to tell me. So I decided that this Christmas would be the perfect time. Our families would be together and we could make the announcement on Christmas Eve. The perfect Christmas present.

He would look at me with a different sort of love in his eyes, as if seeing me for the first time. He would realise that we were meant to be together and kick himself for being blind for so long. Then he would kiss me and it would be better than I had ever imagined.

I made it into the toilet cubicle before the tears started again.

It hadn’t gone quite to plan.

There had been an announcement on Christmas Eve but it was my little sister Danny whose hand he held, into whose eyes he gazed with tenderness. She was the one who glowed with happiness at being with the man she loved and at the new life growing inside her.

For three days I had smiled with locked jaws and on the day after Boxing Day had called my office and asked whether the job in Paris was still mine if I wanted it.

And here I was three days later at St Pancras International Station. About to leave behind my old life, knowing in my mind that I have made the right decision to remove myself from their lives. Now, if I could only separate my head from what my heart is telling it then maybe the tears would stop.

‘Train 105 for Paris now boarding on Platform 6.’

I forced myself out of the cubicle. The old lady was pacing near my bag. “Oh there you are. I was getting worried. They’ve called our train.”

“I heard. Thank you again, it was very kind of you to wait for me.” I shrugged. ”Big queues in the ladies, as always.”

As we stood on the platform waiting to board, she asked, “Are you sure you are alright, dear. You look like you’re going to your own funeral. “

“I almost am.” I said, with an attempt at a smile. “I’m leaving my old life behind and heading for a new one.”

“A better one, I’m sure.” She said.

“A far better one.” I said as I stepped up into the train. “Hopefully.”

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