Sharon's short story this week features two women contemplating which vice to forgo for Lent.
The Donegal Woman’s Words creative series returns with another tale from Moville writer Sharon Thompson.
This short story is a great Sunday read for anyone struggling with their Lenten promises. Hetty and Mildred have to decide between carrot cake and… (ahem) rabbits, which will they choose?
What are we giving up for Lent?
‘What are we giving up for Lent?’ Hetty asks Mildred as they sip their tea in the new coffee-shop. Mildred isn’t listening to her long-term pal. She’s watching the world go by on the busy village street. ‘What vice are we forgoing this year?’ Hetty tries again, taking off her glasses to clean them and poke her pal’s arm. ‘We both could do with losing a few pounds.’
Petite Mildred opens her mouth to disagree, as the waitress comes with their large wedges of carrot cake and portions of cream.
‘Now Milly, before you give out,’ Hetty thrusts on her spectacles, fixes at her perm, ‘these are treats for us, before we start Lent in earnest. Last year we didn’t do so well.’
Mildred smiles and cuts into the cake with gusto, lashing on the cream with her fork. ‘It was you who didn’t do well. You couldn’t manage much more than a few days.’ She fills her mouth to bursting and savours the calories as it melts in her mouth.
‘A woman my age has needs,’ ‘You gave up sugar in your coffee – sure that was simple. One spoon a day is easy.’
‘Perhaps we could take up mindfulness, or positive thinking, instead of giving something up?’
‘We both know where taking up yoga, slimming world and Aqua-Zumba got us!’
Mildred nods in agreement, they were all disasters, even for positive thinkers. Knocking crumbs off her cardigan she thinks aloud, ‘We could join a book club? No harm would come to us there surely?’
‘Reading?’ Hetty shouts. ‘They get up to all sorts in that book-club!’
‘We could try to stop gossiping?’
‘Jeepers, don’t look now,’ Hetty nods her head towards the window, ’it’s dreadful Dinah from the golf-club! The state of her. What is she not like?’
Mildred can’t see what’s wrong with Dinah Doherty who is crossing the street, in spindly lycra leggings and a bright orange wind-sheeter.
‘She’s coming in, for the love of Mick!’ Hetty hollers and shifts her chair so it scraps the floor.
‘Hullo,’ Dinah waves and steers her thin behind through the tables and assembled prams. ‘How are you both? I’m only popping in for a quick camomile tea and to organise a few healthy nibbles for the book club evening.’
‘We were just wondering about ….’ Hetty kicks Mildred under the table. ‘Lent. Yes, we were wondering about Lent.’ Mildred splutters.
‘It’s not something I do really,’ Dinah tucks her dyed auburn hair behind her elegant ear and chuckles a little. ‘I’ve no vice to give up.’
‘How about giving up boastfulness?’ Hetty starts, but Dinah is waving madly at the waitress and shouting instructions on how to place the teabag into her hot water.
‘I see we haven’t given up sweet things?’ Dinah pulls in a chair to join their table. ‘But I know you’ll try and convince me that it’s a vegetable cake, it being made of carrots an’ all.’ Hetty stands on Mildred’s corns under the table, in anger, as Dinah snorts. ‘What were you thinking of giving up then ladies?’
‘Sugar in my coffee,’ Mildred answers quickly and both look to Hetty for her contribution.
‘It’s personal,’ Hetty says and puckers her lips.
Dinah scoffs, ‘come on now, you just don’t want to …’
‘If you really want to know I’ll give up what I gave up last year.’
Mildred gasps and Dinah questions all with her eyes.
‘I’m going to give up my vibrator,’ Hetty mutters quickly. ‘Now, let’s enjoy our cake.’
Sharon is the co-founder of #WritersWise a trending, writers’ tweet-chat (www.writerswise1.wordpress.com).
Check back next Sunday for another short story from Sharon. If you are a local writer of stories or poetry, email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about featuring.