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Authors: Carol Holden

Tags: #Fiction, #General

Splintered Lives (8 page)

BOOK: Splintered Lives
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Mark is still caring for me and I know that I will miss him very much, but his University year starts soon and he has to be home for that.


“Take care, Sarah”.
He smiles as he holds me close and I reply, “I will and you all have a safe journey home.”


“I will soon be back in England,” I call as they leave me outside of the Airport Departures


When I arrive back at Julian and Sue’s I ask Julian if he can arrange for me to take up my post again in Pokhara.
He agrees and contacts Joe to take me.
I am glad to go back and Sahida meets me as Joe delivers me just after the end of the school day.
Jill, my replacement, has her things packed and Joe takes her back to Kathmandu. Jill is a competent driver and promises to take the first leg of the trip so that Joe can have a rest before he takes up the wheel again.


Sahida follows me into the cottage and gives me a sisterly hug.
I am so pleased to see her we have always been good friends.
She has not censored me for the love I had for her brother and I am happy that she is here to greet me home.


She has to go down the mountain home and I am left alone.
I wander around the small space looking for signs of Taj.
I see his boots by the door to the terrace and I take them out there with me, as I remember the lovely walks we had together on our mountain.
I find his comb and hug it to my heart.
The floodgates of tears start then and I cry and rock myself until the exhaustion gives way to a troubled sleep.


The morning is bright and I know that I have to meet the day as best I can.
I have to start school and my neighbour’s boy is waiting outside my door.


He takes my hand and says in his broken English “How are you feeling Miss?


I smile wanly and say.
“I’m fine”.
We meander up the mountain to the school where he leaves me to join his friends


The day seems long but I find that the children are especially good for me as if they know of my sadness.








Chapter 11




Unknown to me, my parents have received a telephone call from Mark, before he left
He feels that his Aunt Sarah is not fit to be left alone and that she needs his grandparents.


He knows that I am unwell and suspects that I may be fretting my life away.


They receive the call at 2.00am and are frantic at the news.
Their thoughts were in chaos as Joe, my father made Mary, my mother, calm down.
He put the kettle on for a cup of tea, as she wailed, “What can we do?”
“Sarah, is at the other end of the world, where she has lost the man she loves, in an air crash”


Joe arranged things as quickly as possible.
He phoned the airport and was given details of how they could reach their destination.
It was to be an arduous journey.
The shuttle to Heathrow, then a flight to Delhi with an onwards flight to Kathmandu. After that they would have to take the small plane to Pokhara or arrange a lift by road.
The village would have to be reached by a four- wheel drive vehicle


Mark had asked Julian to arrange to meet Sarah’s parents to give them some respite before their tackling the journey to Pokhara.
The little airport had been closed because of the crash and the alternative method of travel was time consuming.
Julian hoped that the airport would have re-opened by the time Joe and Mary arrived.


There was a thick fog in Kathmandu the following morning because of all the pollution and the plane was delayed.
The troubled parents had to wait endlessly for the air to clear before the plane could take flight.
Eventually it was time to take to the air and the white mountaintops stood magnificently over the lower greener hills and the beauty of the place enthralled Joe and Mary.


“If only we had come before “, mutters Joe almost to himself.


“I can’t believe the splendour of it all,” says Mary, as she feels sad because of the circumstances of their journey.


“Sarah must love it here” she whispers to Joe.
“Perhaps not any more because of her loss of Taj


They arrive at the airfield and as they step off the plane they feel the immensity of the tragedy.
They stand close together as if their nearness will protect them from the awful hollow feelings they have.
They know no one and the strangeness of the place, makes them feel helpless.
There is a taxi outside the airport and they ask the driver if he will take them to a suitable hotel.


“The only suitable hotel in Pokhara for Western tourists is the Fishtail Lodge” they are told.


They are taken to the edge of the lake where the boat is tied and a porter from the Lodge helps them to place their luggage into it.
They marvel at the surrounding views and begin to understand the enthusiasm of their younger daughter and the love she has for this heavenly place.


They settle in to their allocated room at the hotel where they quickly freshen up, ready for the next step of their journey.
Joe makes his way to the Reception so that he may find some information about the way that they can go up the mountain, to find their lovely daughter. They can hire a four- wheel drive vehicle belonging to the hotel that will take them on their sad journey.


Sarah had just arrived home from school, where she had tried to keep her thoughts on the work she was doing with the children but was having little success.
Her class was aware of her unhappiness and had acted with sympathy, giving her gentle smiles and looks.


There was a gentle tap on her door.
She can’t believe her eyes when she sees her parents there on her doorstep.


“My God.” she cries.
“However did you get here, I’m so glad to see you both,” she says as she falls into her parents’ arms and sobs as though her heart will break.
Her father gently leads her inside and sits her down with her mother who cannot let her go.


Joe can see how hard this loss is for Sarah and on no account are they leaving her here on her own.
He gathers her few belongings together and ushers Mary and Sarah into the four-wheel drive and they descend the mountain for the last time.
He takes them back to the hotel and then contacts Julian to tell him that they are taking Sarah home.


“May I use your telephone again,” he asks the receptionist at the hotel desk.
“I need to book plane tickets to Kathmandu.”


“Of course” she replies.
“I will do it for you if you wish.”


“Do you want the first flight I can get or would you rather wait until tomorrow?”
She asks.


“Tomorrow will be best so that we can rest before starting on our long journey.” He replies


“I’ll get on to it and let you know.” She smiles kindly at Joe and proceeds to telephone the airport.


Joe goes back to the room and he decides that they will stay together for the night as there are two queen size beds in the room and he doesn’t want Sarah to be alone.


He arranges room service for a meal and they settle down eventually to sleep.


Mary holding Sarah in her arms until they finally sleep.


We arrive home after a long journey, exhausted, and after a cup of tea, we fall into bed.
My bed has been quickly made up in my old room.
I sleep for hours and awake to the sound of the TV BBC news programme.
It is six o’clock in the evening and I can’t believe I have slept so long.
I shower, dress quickly and go downstairs to find my family.
I remember the feel of the house, the sweet smell of citrus my mother uses in the bathroom and the kitchen. I feel the warm ambiance and the softness of the thick carpet, under my bare feet.
It’s so good to be home.


My parents greet me with a smile and a hug.
We have always been a demonstrative family, letting each other know that we are loved.


I can’t act as though I am ill, although I do not feel exactly well.
I decide that I will have to find a job and get on with my life.
Although at the moment I feel like my life is over.


We have a couple of days doing very little, just resting and doing the ordinary chores.
My father has to go back to work, as he is responsible for a team of men and he goes reluctantly as he does not want to leave us.
My mother has retired early so I have company during the day.
I start to look for a teaching job in my own town.
As there is a shortage of supply teachers, I soon find a position in the next town, which is seven miles away.
I start my job teaching English to first formers and I enjoy it very much.


After a couple of months I begin to get sick every morning and I do not feel well after tea.
I visit the doctor and he says that I am pregnant.
“Oh my God.” I think.


But then I rejoice and feel alive for the first time since I lost Taj.

I have lightness in my step as I arrive home with my news.

“Mother.” I call out when I step over the doorstep.

“What is it, love?” My mother asks.

I run into the house and tell her my news.

She looks shocked and then she smiles and says she is sure that I will want Taj’s child and that she will help me all she can.


We make plans, she will child- mind for me so that I can earn a living and bring up my baby.
My father will not retire for a number of years and by that time my child will be at school.
I know my father has ambitions to travel and perhaps winter in the sun sometimes, and I would hate to spoil their retirement.
My mother shrugs my feelings off and says by the time dad retires things may have changed and I may have found someone new.
The way I feel now that will not happen.
I hug myself and feel comfort that Taj’s child is living in my womb.








Chapter 12




Simon is born; he is eight pounds and has the longest eyelashes I have ever seen.
As I feed him at my breast I feel the closeness of his father.
He has a sprinkling of dark silky hair and I adore him with all my heart.
My parents are thrilled with him and my sister loves him on sight.


I know he will always have people to love him although Taj is not here and he will miss having a dad.
My own dad will be a good granddad and I know he will teach him the manly things in life, I have often thought that dad would have liked a son but had two daughters.
His joy when Mark was born was great and I know he will love Simon with the enthusiasm he shows to Mark.

BOOK: Splintered Lives
5.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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