A gentle, well written and surprising piece of flash fiction. Another from the Pygmy Giant, because I think I might be falling for them, not because I’ve sent them some stuff of mine in the hope they’ll publish me. ;)

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The last removal truck winds its way down the drive and peace settles once again over the avenue. The rooks, which have congregated in the elm trees throughout the day, occasionally rising into the air in dark clouds of agitation, begin their evensong.

I see cardboard and wrapping paper drifting idly around the bushes, and the odd toy flung unnoticed in some remote corner of the garden. A cool breeze stirs the raspberry bushes, laden with fruit that will remain unpicked this year, and daisies droop on the overgrown lawn.

They’ve gone, this family who have been the focus of my attention for the last twenty five years, moving on with scarcely a backward glance at me.

For days I look out, wondering if one of them might come back for some forgotten item, or perhaps to say goodbye properly. They never said they were leaving, but then, who am I to figure in their plans? How could they know how central they were to my existence?

Sometimes, if I listen carefully, I think I hear the children at play in the garden, running along the drive with excited squeals and giggles. Dogs bark, stirring the leaves of the rhododendrons as they go in frantic pursuit of imaginary cats or rabbits.

With little else to occupy my time, I admit I’ve deliberately snooped on them, involved myself in the minutiae of their lives. I watched dubiously when the young couple first moved in, but my reservations turned to joy as they brought their first child home from the hospital. The baby cried all night that first week, and they shushed her repeatedly, no doubt worrying about the neighbours, but for me the sound heralded hope for the future, maybe some kind of permanency.

Three more children were to follow over the years, together with a succession of noisy, enthusiastic dogs who dug up everybody’s gardens. It didn’t matter. There was such vitality in this family, you’d forgive them everything.

Everything except leaving.

:::::::::::::::  Follow me for the rest   :::::::::::::

Sandra Crook’s other work can be found here, where she also takes the opportunity to remove your will to live with her photos and cruising reports from the French waterways.

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