On This Mountain

Entry by: writerQRFHBGVPZX

3rd April 2015
Tricia had retired from banking. When her mother moved into sheltered accommodation she had moved back to the family home where she grew up in the small village at the foot of the mountain.
A lifetime’s experience had taught her people did not change their plans when you pointed out the pitfalls ahead of them. She did not want to be an old busybody who always knew best so usually she saved her breathe to cool her porridge and politely agreed with what was said.
Sometimes you had to disagree. Take that man in splattered overalls at the front door this morning, carrying a wide tub of white paste, the handle of a wooden tool poking up to one side.
“I’ve come to grout your kitchen,“ he said firmly.
After her shake of the head, he added in an affronted tone, “This is the address I was given”, as if she was personally responsible for his problem but she was glad of this light relief before the visitor she was expecting.
When she was young, Mother and Father had never been wrong, in their opinion. She learnt to conform from seeing her older sister’s lack of success when she defied their parents, going to dances on week nights and staying out beyond her curfew. She’d been exasperated with Moira for causing rows.
When Moira crept out and was caught later, a dreadful atmosphere filled the house, making Tricia feel she was being punished as well. Moira continued to defy every rule until, after one almighty argument, she left home to stay with Auntie May in York and did not even visit. Tricia missed her but it was nice having Mum and Dad to herself.
Once she came in from school and found Mum tearful at the kitchen table. She patted Tricia’s hand and made an effort to cheer up, saying “At least I’ve still got my good little girl.”
Moira returned a few months later, no longer arguing. Tricia was baffled by her sullenness. She had hoped they would all be happy, back together again. Moira was waiting until she made her permanent escape the following year, marrying Brian, who worked at the bank with her.
Moira was only 19 and Tricia was surprised Mum and Dad allowed it but they had mellowed. It was the lesser of two evils they had said one to another. Better to get her married before she had to. When Tricia asked them what they meant, they did not seem to hear her, asking her where she would like to go on holiday with them in the Summer. They were in a good mood, no longer worried that Moira would do something to shock the neighbours in their small village.
Brian was transferred to another town with the bank. Tricia often stayed with them. Moira’s happiness was infectious. The weekend dances at the nearby American airbase were fun. The handsome young men with their slicked back hair were eager to dance and compliment her. She loved to rock and roll, her wide skirt and net petticoats swishing around her.
Moira and Brian took the view that you were only young once. Tricia did not mention the dances to her parents. She feared they would stop her visits.
Brian let her know there was an opening at his branch and she stayed with them for a year until she got settled. Equal pay had come in and in time she had a good career, retiring as a bank manager.
The doorbell rang. She took a deep breath and opened the door. His wife had phoned her to arrange the meeting. They traced the family from the birth certificate. Tricia was easy to find at the family home in the shadow of the mountain.
She knew he was 40 years old. He was lanky, like his father. His dark clothes were topped by a wide brimmed dark hat, the sort blues guitarists wear, strands of blonde hair visible below. Her family were dark haired and not so tall. He leaned forward and hugged her. She hugged him back, wanting to do it.
She had tea and cake ready. He’d been adopted by a local bandmaster's family. Music was his passion. He worked as a rock musician, mainly session work and touring. His wife researched his birth as a surprise gift.
Tricia told him his father was an American airman. It was a Summer romance. He was posted to Europe before they knew about the pregnancy.
“But what of Moira?” he asked. He had a mother’s name on his birth certificate.
“She passed away, last year.”
He gasped.
Tricia continued, “She was not your mother. She insisted on putting her maiden name on the birth certificate to protect me. She was worried our parents would find out about me having you.
She was always in scrapes you see. Our parents always believed the worst of her. I was the apple of their eye. She thought the truth would kill them. I was living near Brian and Moira when I met your father, my parents would have blamed them anyway
The sad thing was, my parents would have loved a grandchild and it never happened for Moira. After I had you, I concentrated on my career, so you were all there was.”
She paused for a moment, pushing back the worry about whether to tell Mum. She could think about it later.
“I am here now,“ he said and took her hand. He was so like his father, those old warm feelings were flooding back and she felt young again. They had a lot to talk about.