The hardest thing was everyone thought Adeline was the one they could tell their problems to. She’d always been there with a friendly word. Outwardly she seemed as bright as ever. But lately every piece of sadness, offered her way in the hope of wisdom and sympathy in return, weighed heavy until she felt the world was nothing but trouble and she had no role in it other than to stop it crushing her.

Raymond rang to say Jim was talking about moving out. ‘After five years he just says he doesn’t know where we’re going any more.’

‘Have you told him how you feel?’

‘Of course I have, Adi. He knows.’ There was the tiniest hint of anger in his voice. He waited for a response.

‘Why did you call me?’

‘What?’

‘Why did you call?’

‘Because of Jim. Because he’s not happy.’

‘Why does everyone need to be happy?’ She said the last word like it was poison.

‘I don’t want to loose him.’

‘I’m not your mother, Ray.’

‘What’s wrong with you?’ His anger boiling up. His anger!

‘I don’t need this,’ she said.

‘I could call back later.’

Silence

‘Adi?’

Silence again. The sound of tears. Then a deep sigh. ‘You do that Ray. You call back.’

Adeline hung up before he could respond.

2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)

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