Benjamin's Wake - Part 1

The door opened to reveal Jasmine, her outline gently diffused by the lights in the hall behind her. She was immaculate of course, even in grief, and her face lit up in a practised delight that might have been sincere. ““Ginny! I’m so glad you could come!” 

In the pause that followed, Ginny felt the other woman’s eyes brush over her, and the two bundles she carried, and wondered if the pause she sensed was real or the paranoid imaginings of her own wave of guilt. “Me too. I just wish it was in happier circumstances”; a response with two statements that were closer to lies than truth. 

“Are you on your own?” 

“Yes.” Of course she was. She passed one of her bundles to Jasmine pulling the other, which gurgled and coughed, tighter to her.

“Oh, they’re beautiful!” exclaimed Jasmine, taking the flowers, and discarding them on the hall table beside her. “That was so thoughtful of you. And is this…?”

“I hope you don’t mind me bringing Screwjo.” Ginny’s confidence was fading behind her red lipstick camouflage. “I just couldn’t bear to leave him at home, all alone in his cage.” Bringing him felt suddenly unnecessarily selfish and cruel.

“Don’t be silly!” Jasmine seemed genuinely shocked by the suggestion, and Ginny knew beyond doubt that Jasmine would always win. 

“Thank you.” Feeling the need to say more, she added: “You know what it’s like.” 

Jasmine had no idea what it was like, what it had been like, and she wasn’t about to find out. They were no longer the children they’d once been, when their parents lived next door to each other, and most evenings had been spent exploring the fields and sharing stories that had given Ginny the first insights into a life that would always be less than her friends. The intimate strands of trust they’d shared then had long since frayed. And yet, still she was here. It was as though whilst their lives had drifted apart into adulthood, the past refused to let go. What was this retained desire to impress; to seek recognition from a woman she barely knew? 

Jasmine’s tune like voice interrupted her thoughts. “Well, I’m glad in a way. Can I see?” She gestured at the tiny glimpse of fingers protruding from the bundle.

“Of course.” After all, that was the other reason she’d brought him. “I’ve just got him off to sleep though; can I intro...

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Rod Webb
Dec 12 2021

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Can't wait for the sequel! Seems like a cross between Humans and Fantastic Beasts. Also loving the "Stepford Wives"
(not suggesting plagiarism - just my reference point of reading :-)

Jennifer Lucas
Dec 14 2021