General Fiction posted January 3, 2018

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How the story ends.

Cora. Part 3.

by Maria Jose Garcia

The story so far: London. The 1960s. Cora, a young typist is going out with a workmate, John, who insists they should keep their relationship secret.

On Friday morning, Cora decided to walk to work instead of taking the underground. She thought the exercise would do her good.

She hadn't seen John all week and she was feeling antsy. Even though they hardly ever spoke at work, knowing that he was there was enough for her. She wondered if he was travelling, but the truth was she didn't even know if he travelled for work.

Once at the office, she took off the blue coat Michael had made for her birthday and hung it on a hook behind her desk.

She saw three other typists whispering in a corner and wondered what they were talking about.

'Hello there.'

'Good morning, Joe. Do you know what that's about?'

'The girls? They must be talking about John.'

Cora's heart started beating faster.

'What about John?'

'They say he's been fired.'

'Fired? Why?'

'I don't know. It might not even be true. I'll tell you more, if I hear anything.'

'Please do.'

When Joe left, Cora tried to work, but she couldn't concentrate. The other girls had sat down, but they were still whispering. Now she wished she had been friendlier to them in the past, so that they would include her in their conversation, but she had always thought they were lazy and shallow and avoided them as much as possible.

Cora didn't see Joe again that day and she didn't find out what had really happened. By the time her shift was over, her nerves were frayed.

She got herself home as in a trance. On her way to the underground, she bumped into a homeless man because she was lost in thought. And her thoughts were driving her crazy.

'Look where you are going, young lady.'

'Sorry. I didn't... I didn't see you there.'

Outside her home, she noticed a lonely figure. It was a middle-aged woman. Her hair reached her waist and she was wearing a long skirt. For a moment, Cora forgot her troubles, wondering who the woman was. She looked so totally out of place, it was as if she had escaped from another era, or at least another place.

As she approached the stranger, apprehension took hold of her again.

'Are you Cora?' the woman asked.

'Yes, who are you?'

'That doesn't matter.'

'What do you want?'

'John has sent me.'

'John? Is he okay?' A hint of hysteria crept into Cora's voice.

'Yes. He wants you to know why he wasn't at the office this week. His girlfriend...'

'What? I thought I was his girlfriend.'

'Don't interrupt me. I don't have all day,' the woman said, not bothering to hide her irritation.

'Well, as I was saying, his girlfriend is dying and as they have a child, he's marrying her tomorrow.'

'John has a child?' Cora felt as if she had been punched. She could hardly breathe.

'I just told you.'

In years to come, Cora wouldn't be able to remember if she had said goodbye to the woman or if the conversation had just ended like that. In fact, sometimes she even thought it had all been a dream. When she told her daughters about the mysterious stranger, they never believed her.

Whatever the truth was, she never saw John again. It took her months to get over him. At first, she cried herself to sleep every night, but little by little and thanks to her mum and her sister she started smiling again.

And then the day came when John, the man she had considered the love of her life, became just an anecdote.


I will probably continue writing this story, but this is the end of the John episode.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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© Copyright 2018. Maria Jose Garcia All rights reserved.
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