Ethel looked at the photo it was the only image she had of her with her siblings. They were sitting on a bench happy and together. It had been taken about six months before the bomb, before their house had been destroyed by the doodlebug. Their parents had been killed, but somehow the three children had survived, hidden in the cupboard under the stairs the fireman had found them huddled together shivering and crying, but alive.
Ethel remembered the place they had been taken too, the place where all the children cried throughout the night, shouting for a family that would never come back for them. Eventually the new parents came, but they were old and felt three kids were too much and so they just took her. She last saw Gladys and Johnny when she had been taken away kicking and screaming by her new family. And to this day she could still hear Johnny’s screams as she taken away. The Micklewhite’s were not bad people, they looked after her well, but they were just not her Ma and Pa and it was like having a limb removed growing up without Gladys and Johnny.
She was eighty now and she had had a good life. There had been two husbands, both now in their graves. She had raised four children and there were eight grandchildren to visit and fuss over her. But all that mattered as she sat alone in the coffee shop nursing a strong cup of coffee as the world went on its merry way outside the window, was that in a moment the door would open and Gladys and Johnny would come in, they would be together again for the first time in seventy-five years.
© 2018 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.
Originally Published: 17 March 2014