N starts the second half the alphabet and brings the fourteenth of 26 short stories - 250 words or fewer - about Alice’s life and times.
Norman considered himself fortunate to have married Alice. She was different to other girls he had known, intelligent and more mature, and he enjoyed their conversations about books. He had met her in the library where she worked.
Norman was an only child and his parents were delighted to welcome Alice into their family. She felt at home with them instantly. They never referred to the war. ‘The past is the past,’ they said. ‘We look forward to the future.’ Alice contrasted this attitude with her mother’s. Ivy couldn’t forget.
Norman had liked Alice’s parents immediately but had been disturbed by her brother. Daniel was like many soldiers he had met, more damaged mentally than physically though there was no denying that losing both legs was hard for anyone to adjust to.
He had spent two years in the army at the end of the war and was lucky to have escaped injury. He had seen others killed and maimed and thought his life was a tremendous gift. He determined not to dwell on the past but make his future the best it could be. He tried to strike up a friendship with Daniel, discussing topics he might be interested in, but Daniel could only talk about how the war had blighted his life. After a while Norman abandoned any hope of having a meaningful relationship with him. Alice was grateful to him for trying but understood that it was impossible. Daniel was essentially lost to them all.