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Mrs Jackson (standard:drama, 1198 words)
Author: BritGirlAdded: Jul 20 2003Views/Reads: 2129/1364Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
An old woman's reminiscences

Mrs Jackson 

Mrs Jackson struggled for breath as she reached the top of the hill. Her
blood was thrumming in her ears. She looked round and saw a bench by 
the path. She made her way over to it, slowly and gently lowered 
herself onto it. She waited patiently until her breathing returned to 
normal. It seemed to take longer than usual. 

She twisted her head to idly read the plaque: ‘in memory of Wilfred and
Betty, who loved this view'. Mrs Jackson snorted. Not much of a view if 
you ask me, she thought. She gazed over the new housing estate, flanked 
by grey tower blocks. All that was new of course. Betty and Wilfred 
probably sat here before all this had been built; when it had still 
been open fields. Mrs Jackson could remember that. 

She used to bring the children up here, when there had been a children's
playground. But that had been knocked down to make way for the new 
houses. A great shame. Kids nowadays had nowhere to go. That's why you 
always saw them hanging around on the streets. Andrew had gone through 
a phase like that: hanging out with rough boys. He'd taken up smoking 
and would come home stinking of alcohol when he was barely fifteen. Mrs 
Jackson frowned. Odd. She hadn't thought of that for years. Of course 
Tom had known it was just a phase. Told her not to fuss and that  ‘the 
lad was just growing up.' Mrs Jackson recalled the indulgent smile her 
husband had when he said this. 

She looked at something different. A young mum was coming along the
path, wheeling a pram with a sleeping toddler in it and leading a 
bigger child by the hand. She looked tired and harassed. Probably one 
of those single mums you were always reading about. Mrs Jackson felt 
rather sorry for her. How those children must drag on her, she thought 
as she saw the elder child tugging impatiently on his mother's hand. 
People expected so much of their mothers. 

The sight of two teenage lads coming past on skateboards took her mind
back to Andrew. He'd never been a skating boy; bikes had been his 
thing. They'd given him a mountain bike for his sixteenth birthday and 
after that they'd barely seen him. Not much change there then. 

Mrs Jackson felt guilty as soon as the bitter little thought had entered
her head. That wasn't fair. Andrew worked very hard and he had 
responsibilities now. A wife and kids. A very nice wife. Mrs Jackson 
had nothing against Jean; she was a nice girl. And the two little ones 
seemed very nice too. Jordan and Skye. ‘Daft names!' Tom had snorted. 
Mrs Jackson had, of course, told Andrew and Jean that she thought they 
were charming names. But she had always rather hoped that Andrew would 
name his son after his father. But that was a silly old-fashioned 
thing. And Jordan was a nice enough boy. She didn't see him very often 
but Andrew assured her he was doing well in his rushed phone calls that 
he made, periodically. He was always so very busy. And besides, he was 
a young man; he didn't want to bother with his old mum.  ‘A son's a son 
til he gets him a wife.' She smiled. She could almost hear her mother's 
country burr. Mother had doted on Andrew to such an extent that Mrs 
Jackson had been quite jealous. 

She pushed that thought aside as well. It wasn't right to think such
things about her mum. It was silly and petty. How did the other part of 
that rhyme go? ‘A son's a son til he gets him a wife but a daughter's a 
daughter all your life.' Mrs Jackson sat very still and willed herself 
to think of nothing. She watched the people walking past with a fixed 
gaze. She wouldn't think about Pat. Not here, not where everyone could 
see. But just thinking of her name recalled her face, her laugh, the 
way she would roll her eyes whenever Mrs Jackson oh-so-delicately 
suggested that she was wearing too little. ‘Oh mum! Don't be so 
old-fashioned'. And then Pat would hug her and Mrs Jackson knew she 
could forgive her daughter anything. 

Mrs Jackson closed her eyes and prayed to God. Please no. Not now. She
couldn't think of Pat now. But then, as she opened her eyes, a young 
man walked past, holding a football in one hand and the arm of a small 
boy in the other. And Mrs Jackson wanted to scream out that it was 
unfair, so horribly unfair for a parent to have to bury their own 

Tom had felt that very keenly. He'd stand with his hands in his pockets,

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