The ninth of 26 short stories – 250 words or fewer - about Alice’s life and times is about Ivy.
I is for Ivy
Alice’s mother Ivy had withstood the privations of war and shown immense strength when news came of Edward’s loss and Charles’ death. She knew Edward was dead but a part of her clung to the hope that he would return one day. Miracles sometimes happened. In her bleaker moments she wondered at the wisdom of such hope. Daniel had returned maimed in body and spirit. He had learnt to walk on artificial legs but his mind remained caught in the horrors of war.
When Daniel was discharged from hospital he and Ruth moved into a small house nearby. Ivy protested that he should come home to his family where everyone could look after him but Ruth insisted he needed peace and quiet. Ivy had not argued but she and Ruth were no longer as close as they had been.
Alice knew Ruth was right. Her mother hovered over Daniel and made him uneasy. Her artificial brightness and attempts to jolly him along irritated him. Ruth’s quieter manner soothed him. Alice learnt from Ruth and moderated her behaviour when she visited. She wished her mother would do likewise. She couldn’t bear the sadness in Ivy’s eyes when Daniel brushed her away. She hated the despair etching lines ever deeper on Ruth’s face. Most of all she couldn’t accept that Daniel was broken beyond repair.
In 1950 Alice introduced her boyfriend to her family. Norman had seen three years’ action in the war. Ivy was elated. Meeting Norman might help Daniel.