This is one of my short stories I wrote around 20 years ago.  I took the idea from one of Mum’s women’s magazines where they had a short story in the back, a coffee read.  I hope you enjoy it.  

Nga mihi nui,


By Trish Stewart

Darcy laid the tablecloth on the table and prepared for lunch. Today was Wednesday, Joy played bowls on a Wednesday so Darcy was used to organising on his own. He liked to lay the table as he had always done. It gave him a sense of routine and discipline. It was important to have his day sorted and planned, somehow it helped the day go faster. Darcy had never played bowls; it was something he couldn’t get into. In his younger days Darcy had sailed, younger days bloomin ‘heck, who was he kidding. He had a chuckle to himself and thought about the years he had lived. He was 83 years old. Crikey, where had the time gone?

Well enough reminiscing, it was time to get on with preparing lunch or he would still be here at breakfast time.

Yesterday had been Joy’s birthday and the family had come over for lunch, it was always the same, family lunch for every birthday that ever was. With the family growing there seemed to be a birthday every month. However, yesterday was extra special, it was Joy’s birthday, and this could not go by without notice and he knew his children would not let him celebrate on his own. It was an unspoken rule “Don’t leave Dad by himself on Mum’s birthday”. They had celebrated as a family when Joy was with them so they would keep celebrating while Dad was alive. It was a happy affair with lots of ‘remember when’ moments and family bonding. It did the heart good to be part of that structure. To feel that closeness and know that you were part of something big! Yep, there were a few teary moments, a watery eye or two but overall it was a happy occasion, a time to celebrate life as it had been and as it was now.

It gave Darcy comfort to know that his great-grandchildren had a sense of belonging to something greater than Mum and Dad, to feel safe in a wider community, or extended family. You always knew there was someone you could go to in your time of need.

It was the problem with today’s society; there was no real connection to anyone for anything. Everyone was off earning money to pay ever increasing bills, others were out for what they could get. It made him sad to think of the hours his children worked, and the time that they didn’t have with each other, that was why he allowed his family to make a fuss on Joy’s birthday. It was a way of bringing everyone together, a sense of belonging for the younger ones.

Whether they were there or not he knew Joy would be. He could feel her presence as he sat at the table for dinner. Darcy had set the table for two, a romantic setting with candles and flowers from the garden. This evening would be their night; as much as he loved having the family over they always enjoyed their quiet time together. Darcy reached out his hand and felt Joy take it in hers. Tonight was a new beginning for them. A time for them to once again be together, a sense of peace washed over Darcy as he looked into his wife’s eyes. A sense of pure delight and wonder as she took his hand in hers and let him towards the light where once again they would belong to each other.