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Jean

by Fionn Shiner

 Jean reached inside her bag and checked for her keys and purse. They were there. She breathed a sigh of relief. She stood up, then walked around the chair, and then sat back down again. Jean reached inside her bag and checked for her keys and purse. They were there. She breathed a sigh of relief. Her lip was trembling slightly and her hand was clutching her face.

‘What are you looking for Mum?’ Jean’s daughter asked.

‘Oh nothing darling, I’m just making sure I’ve got my keys and purse.’

‘Mum don’t worry about that, we’re not going anywhere soon. Why don’t you take your coat and bag off?’

‘Thanks love.’

Jean took her coat off and hung it up on the back of the chair. She put her bag on the floor. Five minutes later she walked in with two cups of tea: one for herself and one for her daughter. She picked up her bag and checked for her keys and purse. They were there. She breathed a sigh of relief.

***

‘You know, your hair has got so much darker love,’ Jean said to her son.

Every time she saw him, she was struck by just how much darker his hair was. It used to be blonde, but it was now dark, dark brown. Like her Dad’s.

‘I know Mum, it used to be so blonde didn’t it!’ he replied, smiling at Jean.

Jean looked at him. She loved her son and he loved her. Jean loved all her family, and they all loved her. Jean loved all her friends too, and they all loved her. The conversation moved on. Jean’s daughter started talking about her time in Africa. It sounded so fun.

‘Oh love, I’m so glad you had fun, I’m so proud of you,’ Jean said to her middle daughter. She loved her daughter and felt so lucky to have her children around her. They were all getting older and changing and growing up before her eyes. It was wonderful and poignant for Jean to behold. She looked at her son, her youngest. She was struck by just how much darker his hair was. It used to be blonde, but it was now dark, dark brown. Like her Dad’s.

‘You know,’ Jean began, ‘your hair has got so much darker love.’

***

It was 6 30am and Jean was awake. She was an early riser. Always had been, always will be. She looked outside her bedroom window at the park opposite her house. The grass was shining with the silvery hue of morning dew and there were a few dog walkers. Jean knew them all by face, and some by name, as she often went for her morning walks at the same time as them.

‘I’m so lucky,’ Jean said softly to herself. She put on her shoes, went downstairs and left the house. She hadn’t been for her walk yet and she always felt so much better after her walk.
An hour later, she returned to her house. She had her keys round her neck. She made a bowl of porridge, ate two spoonfuls and left it on the side.

At around 12pm the same day Jean was stood in her bedroom. She looked outside her window. The dew had now dissipated but the park was still beautiful. Jean marvelled at how the autumnal sun was illuminating the park in a bright, golden glow.

‘I’m so lucky,’ Jean said softly to herself. She put on her shoes, went downstairs and left the house. She hadn’t been for her walk yet and she always felt so much better after her walk.

***

It was 6pm on a Wednesday night and Jean had singing. She called up her friend.

‘Hi, it’s Jean, sorry to be a pest. What time are you picking me up tonight?’

‘Jean, singing isn’t on a Wednesday anymore, it’s been moved to Thursday. I’ll pick you up tomorrow at half seven.’

‘Oh OK, see you tomorrow!’ said a visibly relieved Jean. She went into the kitchen and made herself a cup of tea. She went back into the front room and sat down on the sofa and put the telly on. She called this ‘slobbing’. After an hour or so of watching mindless, brainless telly Jean looked at the clock on her wall. Date: 5th January 2013. Day: Wednesday. Time: 7pm.

Jean suddenly remembered she had singing. She called up her friend.

‘Hi, it’s Jean, sorry to be a pest. What time are you picking me up tonight?’

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