This story is by Virginia Reynolds aka Dorothy Justin and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Maybe Love Will Come
Valerie lay in bed, stock still hoping William did not feel her move.
Feeling forlorn. LOVE! What’s love. It’s never came my way. Gently turning her head only to see William at the end of the bed with a look of hatred on his face.
In a few steps he was beside her. Grabbing Valerie’s hair and lifted her up into a sitting position. Trying her hardest not to let her hands shake, tightening her lips so they would not tremble.
William enjoyed seeing the look of fear on her face making him feel big and tough.
The other look he saw he blanked out, letting go of her hair.
“About time you got up you old tart I want breakfast”
as he walked away he added “Now”
He must have seen Seeing William look at me with a sneer, as he deliberately put on a happy romance yesterday evening. He must have seen the pain on my face as we watched it.
William noticed Valerie kept lowering her eyes so as not to see it but knowing she could hear the laughter and happiness in the couples voices.
Valerie opened her eyes to see the man gently stroking the woman’s swollen stomach.
The pain sliced through her like a laser beam. She felt sure William sniggered.
The pain of remembrance of the punches to her stomach still hearing the words he spoke ‘your-a-fat-cow.
The pain went through her like a knife in her heart as Valerie relived the memory of
losing her beloved son at five months.
I knew it would be a boy and loved him the moment she discovered she was pregnant. The glow of love for him was wonderful. She never had that from William.
The pain continued as my memories went to my step dad.
Remembering how he gave my mum a pittance while he gambled his money away.
Once in doors from work he would start screaming, swearing at us. He did not need a reason just like William.
It didn’t come as a surprise to discover her mother went on the game to put food on the table, and how she would put a piece of bread on her plate with gravy to make it look like meat. When dinner was over she would send him to bed so he couldn’t look into the cupboards and find them bare.
I couldn’t understand how besotted she was with him. But I now know the love she felt, the same love I feel for William. I call it blind love mixed with fear of losing him. William might change one day
Just after my mum died my step dad remarked ‘Your mother would have breathed for
me’ I replied.
“Don’t think I’ll breath for you, you’ve had it” in the next breath he said
“I gave her money for clothes” I looked at him.
“Bloody liar you gave her a pittance while you gambled your money away. You bought two dresses for me when I was little, that’s all I ever got from you”
He sat there with that hurt look I puts on his face to make people feel sorry for him.
I had been determined to stay a virgin until I married, when I was teenager it was expected.
But things changed when the Teddy Boys arrived, they crooked their finger and the girls were expected to go to them with their legs open.
From what I have seen of this country now when the blokes crook their finger the girls go running with their legs open. I did love their drainpipe trousers and long jackets.
Girls never wore slacks then. Bloody men as per usual. I now wear trousers all the time, bugger em.
Thinking back to the boring job I had putting small rubber tubes in a holder which was then filled with lighter fluid. I escaped that job thank goodness and got my very first office job at a electrical company which was situated behind Tottenham Court Road, which was considered being up London. I don’t know if it still is.
Remembering the time I was waiting at the bus stop for a number fourteen to Caledonian Road, as the bus came along some bloke elbowed me in the stomach so he could get on first, the bus conductor called out “No more” I had to wait for the next bus nursing a sore stomach. Grown ups forget we might be young but we still did a days work for less money than them.
I was sixteen then and earned three pounds a week, it wasn’t considered bad money or so I thought.
A year later I had an interview with a good book company, when the lady mentioned
seven pounds ten shillings my mouth dropped open, she looked at me and asked
“My dear girl how much do you earn” When I told her three pounds. Her face looked aghast.
“Three pounds, in an office, disgusting”
They gave me a test with the cards I would file away they all had long foreign names, I did one tiny mistake. I’m thankful to say I got the job.
Things were easier then, now days you’re lucky to get a job.
I met William when I was seventeen in a cafe, we only had coffee shops for young people, and they were really Up London. Mostly we had Lyons Corner house to go to. He seemed so charming compared to my step dad, or so I thought, he asked me out trust me to say yes.
After the first few weeks the showing off started having it at home I ignored it.
I tried dumping him but by them my mother owed him a fair amount of money plus she gave him my birth certificate so I couldn’t get hold of it and go into the army which was my dream. I didn’t know I could go without their permission. I was never told anything. I was kept completely ignorant that was their control.
William had control too. The first two weeks of our marriage was quite happy and then the screaming, swearing started. I had a go back, he stepped back in shock.
But he got his own back two weeks later. As I walked into the bedsit from the tiny kitchen on the top floor of a house he suddenly grabbed at me smashing me onto his fat gut until I collapsed. I was so terrified. I was too scared to leave.
Realising the time and getting up from the bed, she turned her head and there was William coming into the room, swinging from his hand a buckle end of a belt. I had never seen him with a belt before.
I tightened my body, I tried to show no fear
“You’ve taken too long” He came towards me.
Suddenly! William stopped, stopped dead. Staring at the mirror as if he was looking at someone or something, tightening up his body and mouth as I do. William’s mouth gapped open with no sound coming out. Then he started to shout No! No! No!
I’m my father, I’m my father.
His shoulders heaved with a sob. Forgive me! Forgive me. I put my hand onto his arm.
“I forgive you” He cried for what seemed at least half an hour but it was a long ten minutes. Afterwards William said very quietly
“I’ll make the tea, would you like some toast”
I was so shocked all I could do was nod, he stroked my hair.
William slowly walked out of the bedroom.
Going to the bathroom I quickly washed and dressed. As I started going downstairs I could hear the mugs clink and I heard the radio playing, something I had never been allowed to do before.
My prayers had been answered.
Perhaps he loves me after all.