The First Time



He’s gone. Ding dong the bully’s gone.  She picks up the receiver.

“Yes Dear, I’m certain, I won’t change my mind. Send Jimmy over in the next hour, he knows what has to be done”.

Putting the receiver down, she lifts her head.  Looking in the mirror, she notices a slight change to the eyes.  Still tired and weary, but now with a hint of defiance. Ding dong the bully’s gone, a smile starts to gather in one corner of her mouth.  Ding dong the bully’s gone, the smile reaches the other corner.   Where did that noise come from?  My goodness, that’s coming from me, it’s been so long since I heard that laugh.

Jimmy starts to work.  She starts to plan. Can’t remember where I put the decorations.  Yes, I’ll make a list.  As she writes, her hand shakes.  Last year, it wasn’t just her hand shaking but her whole body.  Fear had made her shake last Christmas.  This was different.  It was excitement that was making her shake.

The noise of the drill was like music to her ears.  She didn’t want it to stop.  If freedom had a sound, it was the sound of that drill. She breathed the sound in and exhaled it with a sigh of thanks.

“All done Mary, will I put the kettle on”.

Jimmy looked so concerned that her heart warmed with tender love for the man who made her daughter so happy.

“I’m grand Jimmy. Is 3 O’clock ok? everything will be ready by then.

“We’ll all be there”, Jimmy replies, as he plants a soft kiss on my cheek.

“Well done Mary, you’ve made the right decision”.

“I know Jimmy”

So busy, she didn’t have time to think, but now looking at the clock she had five minutes to spare, five minutes before her life would start again. Five minutes was all he was going to get, five minutes to resurrect the past.  The hurt, the pain, the fear, all wrapped up as presents from him to us at Christmas.  Each year I vowed that I would never let another Christmas be as the last one, but I was weak.  Not anymore.

The door-bell rang.  His five minutes was up.

“Nana, Nana, look at my lovely new dress, isn’t it beautiful Nana” my granddaughter screeched in delight as she twirled around the room.

“Just beautiful pet, it’s nearly as beautiful as you are” My heart was bursting with happiness. My family together again on Christmas day. Two arms wrapped themselves around me “Happy Christmas mam” my daughter whispered, “ It’s the first of many more to come”

“Nana, Nana, did you not hear the ding dong, someone’s at the door”

Looking out the window I saw him put the key in the lock.  When the penny finally dropped that the locks had been changed he fired the bunch of keys as far as he could, which wasn’t far considering his drunken state.

If only he realised he had thrown away all our lives along time ago.

“It’s ok dear; the silly man just came to the wrong house. It’s getting dark; I think I’ll pull the curtains”.

Ding dong the bully’s gone.  This time she started to giggle.


Annette Tobin