M marks the middle of the alphabet and the thirteenth episode in 26 short stories of 250 words or fewer about Alice’s life and times.
Alice and Norman were married on a cool August day in 1956. Ruth didn’t attend. She told Ivy Daniel wasn’t well and she must look after him. Alice was sad but not surprised.
John swelled with pride as he walked his daughter down the aisle and Ivy dabbed at her eyes and hoped there would be some grandchildren soon.
After the reception the newly-weds left for a hill-walking honeymoon in Wales. Ivy and John returned to their empty house, exhausted after a long day.
‘I hope they’ll be happy,’ said Ivy.
‘I’m sure they will be,’ said John. ‘They’re a lovely couple.’
‘We’ve been happy, haven’t we?’ said Ivy, ‘Despite everything?’
John squeezed her hand. ‘Of course we have,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t have asked for a better wife or a happier life.’
‘The boys?’ said Ivy.
John considered his answer carefully. ‘I wish they were with us as much as you do, but they’re not and we have to carry on, like so many others.’
Ivy nodded, her eyes shining with unshed tears. ‘I still hope . . . ‘
‘I know but it’s been too long. If, by some miracle Edward had survived, he would have found his way home by now.’
They sat in silence, holding hands, lost in thought. A knock at the door made them jump. Ivy’s hand flew to her mouth as John went to open it. Ruth had come to ask about the wedding. She sounded genuinely sorry she hadn’t gone.