April A-Z blogging challenge 2012
The next story in this sequence of short stories of 250 words or fewer starts with W. All the stories are about the life and times of a fictional character called Alice.
For most of her life Alice felt like a child, learning from other people. Even as a grandmother she doubted her competence to offer advice. Everyone around her seemed so knowledgeable and younger people were the most intimidating. She wondered if she would ever feel sensible and mature.
One Christmas a few years after Ivy’s death, she and Norman were staying with Rebecca. They overheard their son.
‘Mum was the one I took my troubles to. She listened, really listened, and she always knew what to do. When I was growing up she was the only person I could talk to and she was never shocked by anything I said.’
Then came Rebecca’s voice. ‘Mum’s a great listener, very wise. She won’t give advice unless she’s asked and even then she makes it sound as though you’ve found the answer for yourself. I wish I could be like her.’
Alice felt her ears burning and a flush suffusing her face. Could they really be talking about her? Was that all wisdom was? Listening and advising when you’re asked? She knew it must involve more than that – experience, of course, the sum of little things. She felt ridiculously happy and suddenly quite grown-up.
Norman squeezed her hand and whispered, ‘You’re my very own Wise Woman. You cast your spell on me the first time we met.’
Alice snorted. ‘You make me sound like a witch,’ she said.
‘Oh, yes, that’s what I meant,’ said Norman and winked.