A Time Of Hope

Just a month away from their baby being born, Anthea thinks back nostalgically to when it all began…

Happy anniversary, my darling!”

She suddenly realised she’d spoken the words out loud.

Fat raindrops spattered noisily against the kitchen window as Anthea opened the washing machine door and posted a load of white sheets and pillowslips.

She sighed. It was two years ago to this very day that she and Guy had met.

Back then the sun was shining from a clear blue sky. It was almost as if someone had set the scene for romance.

Indeed, from the moment they were first introduced their path seemed pretty well set.

“Hi. I’m Guy Wexford. I think you’re expecting me. I’ve come to talk to you about Scallywag.”

Anthea looked up from the reception desk at Radio Stelbridge and smiled.

“Ah yes.” The blue eyes looking into hers were full of personality and fun. “You’re the star in the play that’s on at the Little Theatre, aren’t you?”

“Well I wouldn’t say ‘star’ exactly, but I’ve got a role in it certainly.”

“And I’m going to interview you. We’re on air in about half an hour.”

The interview had gone so well that Anthea and Guy had gone to a nearby pub for a drink afterwards and from then on there had been no looking back.

Their first proper date had been a shared meal, Guy concocting a mouth-wateringly delicious boeuf bourguignon while Anthea made a creamy cheesecake with fresh raspberries for pudding.

A month later they moved in together.

The flat seemed like it was made to measure for them, situated just a couple of roads away from the radio station.

Working different hours had its drawbacks, but life together was happy now each had found their perfect partner.

Anthea sat on a kitchen stool and cradled her baby bump lovingly. A stray tear rolled down her cheek and bounced onto her hand.

She drew a sharp breath, reminding herself that Guy would never want her to be depressed like this, not when their baby was a month away from being born.

She remembered how they’d both shed tears of joy when Anthea’s pregnancy test had shown positive.

“I’ll look after you like you’re a princess,” Guy had promised, picking her up and swinging her round until she was giddy.

“I’ll even tidy up the kitchen when I’ve finished cooking. Oh – and no more wet towels thrown on the bathroom floor! I’ll become a paragon of virtue!”

“I’m not sure I want that,” Anthea had laughed. “It wouldn’t be you if you didn’t walk muddy shoes into the house.

“On the other hand you could sort the colours before you put our clothes in the wash. My best bra is a decidedly un-fetching shade of blue at the minute.”

“It’s a deal – if you stop pinching all the toffees in the sweet selection your Mum bought us!”

Anthea gazed out at the rain.

She would give anything to have had a few more days with the love of her life.

It had all happened so suddenly, the feeling under par, the sickness becoming worse, the doctor’s diagnosis.

“I’m afraid there’s no more we can do,” he’d told Anthea gravely. “It may be weeks or it might be a month or two. I am so very sorry.”

At first they’d been too stunned to take in the situation.

Almost in denial, they had thrown a party for Guy’s birthday, inviting family and friends from far and wide.

Anthea had taken over the preparations, baking quiches, sausage rolls and a huge chocolate birthday cake. The wine had flowed freely and the atmosphere was one of joyful celebration.

Guy had thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone and for a day or two it seemed as if his illness was in remission at the very least.

He was his old self once more. Anthea prayed for a miracle.

“I love you, Anthea,” Guy had said taking her tenderly in his arms. “I’ll always be with you. Never forget it.”

But the good time was all too short-lived.

One Spring evening, after Anthea had spent a quiet evening sitting with him, holding his hand Guy asked her to make him a cup of tea.

Even before the kettle had boiled she sensed a change and hurried back to the bedroom but she was too late.

In the few minutes she had been apart from him Guy had slipped away, quietly and without a fuss.

Time had moved on and after the initial devastation of losing him, Anthea had set her shoulders straight and vowed to be a loving mother to her unborn son.

The machine cycle finished, Anthea hauled the wash into a wicker basket and opened the door onto the garden.

The rain had stopped. By the time she had hung the sheets out to dry the sun was shining out of a clear blue sky.

Anthea smiled. It was a replica of the day she and Guy had met.

As she pegged out the last white pillow slip, something caught her eye and caused her heart to leap.

One corner of the material was definitely tinged with blue.

Our My Weekly Favourites series of short fiction from our archives continues on Mondays and Thursdays. Look out for the next one. 

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