Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home
When you find me, you will want to hear my story. Or the part of my story that tells of you. Until then, I turn it around in my mind to prevent it fading. When we meet, it will sing.
As a lass, I was full of stories. They kept Mother entertained after we snuffed out the light. Stories of a dazzling future with no thought of fathers, husbands, brothers or sons.
Yours begins one night when Mother’s betrayal stole my appetite for fiction. “I’m sorry, Matilda, but I can’t come with you on Saturday. Mr Windsor needs me at the shop.”
“You should have said you had a prior engagement.” That’s what she’d tell me if I was tempted to break my word when something nicer came along. But what could be nicer than hearing me recite? The shiny buttons and spools of thread and silken ribbon in Windsor’s Haberdashery would seem drab against her daughter’s red rosette.
“Grow up, Matilda. A child half your age would accept that if I don’t work, you don’t eat.”
I turned my back on her. She reached for my hand, but I slid it between my pillow and my cheek. She didn’t try a second time. Didn’t shepherd me through “The Lady of Shalott”. Didn’t beg for the next instalment of the saga of the girl from The Marsh who becomes a famous doctor. Soon, soft whistling signalled she’d dropped off.
Awake in the dark, while Mother slept, a hollow feeling swept over me. As if Mother preferred Mr Windsor’s dreams to mine.
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