R gives us the next in a series of 26 short stories of 250 words or fewer about the life and times of a fictional character called Alice.
1965 was a momentous year for Alice’s family. Emily was born in May and was greeted with rapturous delight by Rebecca. Edward John, now eight, greeted his baby sister with unaccustomed gravity, promising to look after her.
In July Daniel had a complete breakdown after refusing to take his medication and becoming increasingly irrational. More wretched than she had ever been Ruth called the doctor who said Daniel must be admitted to hospital immediately. Daniel refused to cooperate and had to be forcibly removed.
Shortly after that event, which shook the whole family, John had a serious heart attack. Shocked and frightened, Ivy blamed herself and swore henceforth to follow all the medical advice she was given. Alice hoped she would keep her promise.
One day in August Ruth knocked at Alice’s door. Alice was surprised to see her but invited her in and made tea.
Ruth said, ‘I should have listened to you. I knew Daniel wasn’t getting any better. I wouldn’t admit the tablets weren’t working. Daniel was so devious he convinced the doctor he was coping and I covered up for him. I thought I knew what was best for him. All those wasted years when he could have been getting the help he needed . . . and you and I could have been friends. Is it too late for us, now?’
‘I’m sure if we try we could be friends again,’ said Alice.
‘I’d like that,’ said Ruth.