This story is from Janette Owen who sent in two entries and whose other story came second! Well done indeed, Janette.
'Dad's News' by Antony Dunford 'My Daddy' by Sally-Anne Crowther 'The Word Unspoken' by Peter Collins 'Peculiar' by Wayne Danting-Langdale 'The Possessive Gene' by Pamela Trudie Hodge
We had 41 entries.
Here is Janette's story:
A Thread of Hope
I watched from the dormitory window while they handed my baby to strangers. They said I wasn’t a fit mother for my little girl, made in love but out of marriage. No name allowed to go with her, only a simple teddy – one I made from my maternity smock. My cries turned to screams as the nuns waved her away, crossing their hardened hearts while leaving mine in tatters. The years passed, as they do, only mine without hope of ever setting eyes again on those which once looked up at mine, since my name had changed and I never discovered hers. ‘She’ll be fifty today,’ I told my son when he found me clutching the remnants of that old smock. John joined me on the sofa, covering my hands with his. ‘You still have that old thing?’ he said, eyeing the floral fabric. ‘It’s all I have left of her.’ I expected John to tell me it was time I let go; that I had him at least. But he didn’t. Instead, he gently took the remnants of that old smock and run his hands over its threads as though he might make it speak. ‘Could I borrow this?’ he asked. I never thought to question him or build up any hope. After all, nothing had ever come from hope before.
Yet here I was, thanks to John, waiting in the park café. Who would have believed a photo and a simple internet appeal could find her? I thought it fitting to see her come back to me from a window, since it was through one I saw her go. Did she blame me? John said not. He said she was keen to come. But how would I know her? Would she have my hair? My dimpled smile? Would she share my silly laugh? My heart thumped each time a woman came into view. Fifty years she’d known another mother. Why should I presume to share anything with her? We might have nothing in common ... Though the woman who had just climbed out of a taxi was another who had fought to tame her wild locks, hers still boasting remnants of copper. We both clutched onto floral cloth while gazing through glass with questioning eyes. Eyes that had a fleck of green, like mine. Mine. Always was and ever will be. You’d think I’d be bounding from my chair to the door, except I could barely stand. I couldn’t move my trembling arms to wipe the trickle of tears. Words froze in my throat. A creak of hinges and barriers no longer kept us apart. She held up a thread-worn teddy, one blue button eye replaced by a brown. ‘Snap,’ she sniffed, eyeing the rags that I clutched ‘Snap,’ I sobbed, offering up the tatters like a broken-stemmed bouquet. Tears mingled and arms entwined. Those nuns, they tried to part us, but in the end blood proved thicker than bile.
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