Joshua HastingsMature

“Morning Joshua,” Meghan smiled as she clean up the table I had just sat myself at, I looked up and smiled at her,

“Good morning Meghan,” I smiled back, “the weather’s looking good for the festival this weekend,” I noted,

“It is, I just hope it’s not too warm to melt my homemade brownies,”

“Warm brownies have a distinctively delicious taste, I’m sure people could cope if they were a little soft,” I smiled handing her my empty coffee cup, she filled it up and popped in a sugar,

“Still take your coffee black?” she asked poising the milk above it,

“Yes, yes I do,” I told her smiling; Meghan was a wonderful girl who was sadly dreaming of bigger things than Long Meadow. She bobbed her head and went back to the counter, I enjoyed listening to the chatter of the townsfolk in the café and occasionally I joined in; today though I was interested with an article in the newspaper. A new story had come out about a new trial drug supposed to help those with dementia; I read the story with interest and then put the paper down and sipped my coffee.

The café’s bell rang and suddenly everyone went quiet; I looked around in my seat to see young Tyler Hanson walk in, he was not a regular customer and everyone knew it. He ordered a coffee to go and stood awkwardly by the counter as Meghan asked him a few conversational questions; as soon as he could, he took his coffee, turned and left the café abruptly. 

“He’s a waste of space,” Charli Greene said coming over and speaking to me directly, “I’m surprised he had the nerve to walk in here today, especially with you inside,”

“It’s been four years Charli,” I told her, a lump appearing in my throat,

“Four years doesn’t change what he did, he should be punished and if the police aren’t going to do it, we townsfolk certainly will, not just for Mollie but for you too,” Charli was, in all honesty, the town’s gossip and spokesperson. Whatever Charli said was taken as truth, she owned the café and thrived in the environment, she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and I admired that in her. She was a nice woman, four years older than me, who didn’t mean to gossip and spread rumours – it was just her nature.

“I appreciate your sentiments, but really, stop giving the kid a hard time,” I told her,

“That ‘kid’,” she did the air-quotes, “killed your wife, for God’s sake Josh, don’t you feel any anger towards him?!”

“If he killed my wife, why isn’t he in prison?” I asked,

“Just because there is no evidence, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” she told me,

“Well thank you for your concern Charli, but I’ve managed to get over her death in four years and I’m sure Tyler would appreciate if you got over it too, just let him grow up like a regular teenager,”

“I can’t understand how you’re so nice,” she muttered angrily, I flashed her a grin and stood up,

“Thanks for the coffee,” I called leaving five bucks on the table; I left the café and headed to work. On my way I walked into Ellen Kirtle, her head was buried in a journal she was scrawling in and I was gazing across the village green watching the preparations. We collided head-on and all Ellen’s possessions fell onto the pavement,

“I’m so sorry!” I cried bending down to help her pick them up, she helped and then watched as I handed her back her journal and pen,

“Thanks,” she smiled squinting through her glasses,

“How’s the story going?” I asked her,

“Right now I’m stuck in a little writing-rut,” she smiled flattening her hair which always looked as if she’d walked through a hedge backwards, “but one day, this book is going to be a best seller!” she said tapping it,

“I’d love to give it a read,” I told her, “perhaps offer some advice?”

“I don’t know…” she muttered,

“That’s alright,” I smiled trying to ease her embarrassment, “it seems like forever,” I told her handing back the pen, “we should catch up over coffee,”

“That would be nice,” she nodded, “nice,” she repeated, she was beginning to sound like her pet parrot. I flashed her a grin before taking an overly large step passed her and headed off down the street again. I waved at Stanley – the town mayor - as I crossed the street; I opened my practise doors and made small talk with the receptionist – Lucy – before seeing to my first patient. It was days like this that made me love Long Meadow, a lot had happened in it whilst I had lived here, my wife’s murder being one of many but I was always pleased to have such a solid foundation of friendship which I could lean on.



The End

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