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“We’re all going on a summer holiday,” Cliff Richard croons from a stereo in the corner of the room. Mary sits in her winged chair looking out onto the frost-ridden garden of Sunset Heights care home. Stuffed down the side of the chair are the pills she pretends to take.

“False advertisin’ that - promisin’ a summer holiday in middle o’ winter,” Angie says as she makes the bed. Mary chuckles.

“Unlike you, Angie, he isn’t arrested for it and doing community service here,” Nigel says as he strides into the room, gadget rich, bringing with him the faint smell of death and detergent from the main corridor.

Angie’s eyes narrow. So, this is Mary’s son, she thinks: Uppity with a free smile, long lean limbs and designer everything. “Sharp jeans,” she says to Nigel. “Betta watch yer don’t cut yerself.”

Nigel looks up from his phone, caught for words. Angie glares back, all button nosed, acid mouthed and as round as the moon. She’s wonderful, he thinks.
“Nice to meet you too,” Angie mutters, punching the pillows into shape.

Nigel hugs his mum and places his gadgets on the side table. “Let me help you,” he says, picking up a sheet.
“That’s the dirty one.” Angie says, rolling her eyes.
“So… this one?” he says, picking up the clean sheet and smiling.
Angie nods. Caught off guard by Nigel's attention, she fends off a blush. 

Mary chuckles. Cliff Richard offers up mistletoe and wine. The air shines as Hope is laid out over a sheet, threadbare.


Written for the 2020 NYC Flash Fiction international writing competition using the genre of romantic comedy and the trigger word 'Threadbare'. Short-listed and highly commended.
Photo by 
Fleur on Unsplash

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