Smorgasbord Short Stories – Tales from the Garden – Mollie (The Duchess) Coleman by Sally Cronin


In the summer I will be releasing Tales from the Irish Garden.. stories of magic and fantasy. It is the sequel to Tales from the Garden published in 2015 and I am going to share the stories from that collection with you in the next few weeks.

About Tales from the Garden

Tales from the Garden reveals the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees. You will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories. The guardians who have kept the sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.

Fairy Stories for children of all ages from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden forever.

Today I will be sharing the extra story that I added to the back of the book. My mother loved her flowers and even when living abroad would have beautiful pots around the front of the house filled with colour.

 Mollie (The Duchess) Coleman – Tales from the Garden

My daughter thought that I might like to introduce some of my many gardens to you as a break from her own and my other daughter’s beautiful surroundings. I am afraid that I have to go back nearly 90 years to describe my first real garden but luckily I do have one or two photographs to share with you. It is a tough ask to cram 94 years into 1000 words which is what my daughter expects, so I do hope you bear with me!

I never knew my father. For a few months after I was born in the October of 1917, he and my mother Georgina lived in Kent where he was undergoing re-training. He had been badly wounded whilst rescuing his officer and had been awarded the Military Medal. He had been told that he would not be returning to the front and that his role would now only be administrative. They decided to start a family and my Irish father named me Mollie Eileen Walsh.

He was 31 years old when he was killed on November 2nd 1918, just nine days before peace was declared. As people rejoiced in the streets of Britain my mother waited for news. It was to be three weeks after the war before she was finally informed that he was not coming home. She did not know where he was buried and sadly she and I had to move on with our lives without him.

My mother’s family were from Alverstoke in Hampshire and also Bramdean in the rural part of the county. She decided we should move closer to her home and so we arrived in the lovely village of Wickham, famous for its square and horse fairs. We lived in a small cottage off the square but I don’t really remember much of those early years.

When I was seven my mother remarried the village butcher, Norman Welch and he built us a new home on Hoad’s Hill which led into the village from Fareham and Portsmouth. As well as the modern house we had a wonderfully large garden with a small orchard of fruit trees. The following 15 years were a wonderful mixture of village hall dances and bright summer days. Here I am in our orchard at the back of the house which was called Sinclair.

Then another war shattered our hopes of peace and life in the village changed overnight.

However, in late 1939, a friend of mine in the Royal Navy introduced me to a tall and handsome electrical artificer named Eric Coleman and within a very short time we knew that we wanted to get married. We made plans to have the wedding on Saturday September 14th 1940, but on the Monday, Eric was given orders to join a convoy leaving for Canada on Thursday 12th and was confined to barracks.

To cut a very long story short…. our vicar got on the telephone to Eric’s commanding officer and persuaded him to allow him leave to marry me on the 11th, returning in time for the ship the next day. The whole village pulled together to get my dress finished and the grocery shop, that shut on Wednesday afternoons, opened to get a cake and sandwiches together for our guests. The vicar’s wife arrived in her car to drive me to the church where I found my handsome husband-to-be.

We had to return to Sinclair for the impromptu reception and the German bombers decided that they would add their contribution by dropping bombs on Portsmouth. Since they would often jettison any left on the countryside on their return flight we did some ducking and diving ourselves.

Here is our wedding party after the all clear including my giant red cat who looked more like a fox. Ironically because of the bombing the night before, Eric’s transport ship left early and he missed it. As I moped around in the garden after just one night of honeymoon, and not expecting to see him for at least a year, he walked in the front door with a week’s leave!

Wedding day Wednesday September 11th 1940

I travelled all over England to be with Eric any time he had shore leave throughout the next two years. In 1942 we had our first daughter Sonia and we moved to Scotland to Dunoon to join Eric who was based there repairing submarines. Our second daughter Diana was born there in 1943. Eric then returned to sea and did not return from the Far East and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) until late in 1946.

Sonia and Diana Sinclair 1944

We had settled back into the house on Hoad’s Hill but sadly my mother who had ill health died in 1945 aged only 52. My step-father moved into a cottage in Fareham and as a family we enjoyed being in our own home and garden for the first time since the beginning of the war. Our third daughter Sally was born in 1953 and Eric was posted to Sri Lanka in 1955.

As it was for a two year posting we all went with him. Now that was a garden… or should I say jungle!

We had snakes and monkeys outside the front door and often inside. It was not unusual to find small monkeys helping themselves to my lipstick and pearl earrings on my dresser having let themselves in the window. And we were not just treated to exotic wildlife in our garden. The navy is very good at providing a wonderful social life but travelling back at night could be interesting with leopards and elephants on the move on the narrow road through the jungle.

However, we had an incredible time and arrived back to our home in Wickham in time for our son Jeremy to be born in 1957.

We moved to Old Portsmouth in 1958 to a modern house with a very strange garden… the house was built on the site of an old public house that existed before the Battle of Trafalgar. It had been bombed during the war and three new houses were built as a terrace on the site. However the small garden was built over the old wine cellar of the pub which now served as our garage. Without trees and a lawn I had to make use of old wooden wine caskets that I picked up locally and turned into planters. Every summer I would fill them with pink geraniums and each winter with pansies.

In 1959 we were posted to Malta and then in 1963 to 1965 we lived in South Africa. This was followed by two years in Lancashire before returning in 1967 to Portsmouth for good. When Eric retired we moved across the high street into a lovely flat but my garden became even smaller.

However, we did have a flat roof and I placed all my planters up the wrought iron stairs and around the roof top. Here I am completing the small crossword in The Daily Telegraph with my coffee which is something I enjoyed doing each morning.

We had many wonderful years in the flat, and rather than travel overseas, we made short trips to Scotland, Wales, Jersey and other beautiful parts of Britain. One of the many things that had attracted me to Eric in the first place was that he was a wonderful dancer.

We loved nothing better than going away to stay in hotels that had dinner dances on the Saturday nights and we were still dancing all through our 70s.

We would also visit public gardens and would sit in the shade on benches and enjoy their beauty.

Sadly after 56 years together Eric passed away and a year later at age 80 I moved across the road again to my little house with its small front and back gardens. Here I was to live for the next 14 years and my greatest pleasure was keeping my small piece of heaven stocked with geraniums and pansies. My living room window was large and offered me a wonderful view of all the visitors to the garden including foxes, hedgehogs and blackbirds in search of raisins.

There are some gardens that hold very special memories for me. Diana had done some research and early in the 90s had managed to establish where my father was buried. He was in a small military cemetery in a village called Poix-du-Nord along with about twenty of his fallen comrades. I visited with Diana and her husband and then again with Sally who was living in Brussels, only 65 kilometres from his final resting place. It was very emotional to finally see my father’s name carved in granite and I hope that he would have been proud to know that he left behind a family of many bright and happy grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Diana and her husband lived around the corner from me and I would often take advantage of her larger garden. I would sit quietly for hours watching her dog chasing squirrels and the many different species of birds popping into visit.

The years passed and before I knew it I was 94 years old… What a journey and how lucky I had been to have seen so much of the world and enjoyed so many gardens in the company of someone who loved me so much. And if you are wondering? I would be hard pushed to tell you what my favourite flower is but I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that if it is pink, it is beautiful.

Oh and if you are wondering too about The Duchess nickname, it is probably because I was rather partial to buying and wearing beautiful jackets, and I was rarely seen without my pearls! I rather insisted on being dressed and ready for the day by 9.00 each morning even if there was nothing on the calendar… I firmly believe that you should be prepared to meet people looking your best. I suspect some might have thought I was a bit grand….

Anyway it was no longer possible for me to remain in my house but I will always remember that last view through the window and the sight of my little fairy princess in the alcove. It is engraved on my heart.

From where I sit now I can watch my daughter’s little black Staffie chasing squirrels and also seeing off the postman and anyone else who dares intrude on this sanctuary. If you catch sight of me perhaps you could do me a great favour and pop a large, cut-glass tumbler of whisky and water, no ice thank you, on the table beside me. I am finding it rather difficult to get hold of these days.

All the best… and don’t forget that whisky and water will you!
Mollie Eileen Coleman October 5th 1917 to July 28th 2012 The Duchess

©Sally Cronin- Tales from the Garden. 2015

I hope that you have enjoyed reading Tales for the Garden over the last few weeks. I will be sharing one of my other short story anthologies – Flights of Fancy from next weekend. Thanks Sally.

Other short story anthologies.

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

Thanks again.. Sally.

My WIP – Tales from the Irish Garden- with Illustrations by Donata Zawadzka


I first published the following story in February of this year and at the time Donata Zawadzka had just been introduced to me by Paul Andruss.  Tales from the Irish Garden was just a twinkle in my eye, but I was already writing some stories down to be included.

Eight months on and I am delighted to say that Donata has now produced four wonderful illustrations that I will be using as part of the artwork for the collection. Because I loved this illustration so much, I have also bought the original to use in the book with this story.

Tales from the Irish Garden, follows on from Tales from the Garden which was set in Madrid Queen Filigree will be forced to relocate from her home in the sun in Spain to her cousin’s kingdom in Ireland… expect some misadventures along the way. New characters such as Jeremy the Donkey will play their role in making Queen Filigree welcome, and there will be badgers, mice and eagles…

This story was prompted by the stunning illustration by Donata Zawadzka and you can find out more about this talented artist after the story.

after-the-festival-1

Tales from the Irish Garden – After the Festival story by Sally Cronin – Illustrated by Donata Zawadzka

Princess Persephone slowly and painfully regained consciousness, and keeping her bleary eyes closed, tried to establish exactly where she was. Her wings might have been gossamer thin and delicate, but right now they felt like a ton of bricks. Her head was pounding and it seemed that her body had been stretched over a barrel that was making munching noises.

She felt obligated to make some form of protest at this treatment, but found that her mouth was so dry, her tongue was glued to the roof of her mouth. By all the gods, including Zeus and Hades, what had someone done to her? The last thing she remembered was drinking some gold label, honey nectar made by the Lerpersian brewery in a cave near Glendalough. She was sure she had only had a couple; it had tasted as sweet and innocent as its name.

The crunching and chewing sounds continued beneath her, and finally she managed to open her eyes; nearly falling off the barrel. In front of her face was a delightful tiny straw hat, perched between two very large ears sticking out at right angles. Persephone burped in a very un-regal manner and covered her mouth with a shaky hand.

‘Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear,’ she mumbled behind her fingers. Her older sister Princess Narcissus was going to kill her when she got hold of her.

‘Are you talking to me?’ she heard a rather squeaky voice from somewhere in front of her. Persephone managed to raise herself up into a sitting position and without making too many sudden moves, surveyed her surroundings.

‘Hello, is anybody there?’ She glanced from left to right, carefully manoeuvring her still weighty wings. She waited expectantly; head tilted to one side.

‘It’s about time you woke up you little madam,’ the voice seemed clearer now that the chewing sound had ceased.

‘I have been carrying you all night and my feet are killing me.  Which, if you are wondering, is why we are in the middle of this stream of cold water.’ The head attached to the hat and ears in front of her swung around, so that one very large brown eye was staring up at her.

Persephone was now very confused and began to suspect that someone had slipped a Micky Finn into her class of honey nectar last night. Her mother Queen Filigree had warned both her daughters that some boyo might take advantage of the visiting princesses to the festival, and to make sure they kept an eye on their drinks at all times. She was in so much trouble, and no doubt she had managed to ditch Narcissus at some point and would get it in the neck; a frequent occurrence.

She had to get out of this hallucination as quickly as possible and find her way back to the festival site. She must find her sister quickly and return home with her, otherwise she would have her wings clipped for the next month, and be locked in the dungeons in the palace under the oak tree for good measure.

She tried to slip off her mount into the water, and in the process discovered that she had been riding a sizeable spotted deer. What was even weirder was that it seemed to be decorated with bits and pieces of her sister’s eclectic outfit she had been wearing last night. Including that saucy fascinator now perched between its ears.

‘Oh no you don’t missy,’ a protesting voice issued forth from beneath her. ‘Now that you are sobering up, you can undo the damage you did last night.’

‘Damage, what damage?’ Persephone was becoming irritated by this badgering that made her head pound even more. ‘I’m the one who has been drugged and stuck in the middle of this hallucination with you; so back off.’

Having finally managed to slip off the back of the deer, Persephone found herself up to her knees in the freezing water. She was also now on the level of the animal’s head and could look straight into those big brown eyes that appeared to be vaguely familiar.

‘Now do you get it you little spoilt brat?’ The harshness of the words and tone were slightly alleviated by the sight of several lotus blossom stems hanging from the sides of the deer’s mouth.

The enormity of the situation had a sobering effect on Persephone as she lifted her legs in and out of the icy water. Things were beginning to come back to her and this was definitely not good. Not good at all.

She clung to the neck of creature. and as she felt the big heart thumping away beneath her hand, it brought back the hypnotic sound of the drums reverberating around the camp fires at the festival last night. As the honey nectar had taken effect, she had felt herself released from her regally ingrained decorum; rising to her feet to dance in time to the intoxicating beat.

Despite her sister’s repeated protestations, Persephone had been swept away with the other revellers, in a wild and organic melee. She swayed as she remembered the thrill and the fever of that freedom.

‘I see it’s coming back to you madam, and you better sober up fast because I am not carrying you any further.’

Persephone decided that if she was not to freeze her sparkly boots off, they had better move from the stream on to dry land. She gently grasped the halter of flowers around the deer’s neck, leading her onto a grassy bank strewn with daisies. These proved irresistible to the animal, who dipped her head to chew enthusiastically.

Persephone lay back in the softness of the emerald coloured grass and white and yellow flowers for a moment; then shot upright and placed her head in her hands.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, what have I done?’ She looked over at the object of her despair who had turned her head at the sound of her name being called.

‘What you have done missy, is to cast a spell on me last night, just because I was trying to stop you making a Lerpersian of yourself in front of all those strangers.’

The deer wandered over and her fascinator fell off her head and into Persephone’s lap. Her sister picked it up between shaking fingers and looked up into the eyes that she knew so well.

‘You better be able to fix it missy, otherwise mother is going to exile you to live alone on Inishtooskert for the rest of your life,’ a hint of maliciousness crept into the vitriolic tirade.
‘You will never meet a Prince Charming there, will you?’

Persephone could tell that Princess Narcissus, who she often told people was aptly named, was getting more and more riled up and that never bode well.

‘I know, I know, don’t worry I can fix this,’ and with that she scrabbled around in her hessian bag that was still thankfully slung around her body. Desperately she searched the deep and dark interior looking for her spell book. Finally, just as she thought that it had fallen out as she had rolled drunkenly around on the deer’s back, her fingers closed over the spider’s web cover.

The dark brown eyes of her sister looked on expectantly as Persephone flicked through the book of spells, one minute nodding her head, and then the next shaking it in frustration. Then with a huge sigh of relief, she found what she was looking for.

She stood up shakily, and placing her right hand on the large wide forehead of the deer, she uttered the required antidote to the original spell.

‘Flabbergast and Flippity Gibbet with a twist of flighty fingers of fidgeters, return my sister to her original body,’ she paused and then added a little insurance policy. ‘And befuddle her brain into forgetting all that passed last night.’

Which is why, the disgraceful shenanigans of the young Princess Persephone, have remained a secret until today; and are only being revealed to you, the select few.

The End.

©sallycronin Tales from the Irish Garden 2017

Illustration by Donata Zawadzka

I think you will agree that Donata’s work is stunning. Perfect for children’s books, fantasy and fairy tales and of course book covers.  I am so looking forward to sharing the other illustrations that she has completed for the book.

Connect to Donata Zawadzka

View her website : http://dezawadzka.wix.com/donatasgallery
Buy her work on Redbubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/donattien/works/7004053-the-birch-maiden?c=32080-ink-illustrations
Like Dona on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/donataewa.zawadzka?fref=ts
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DonataEZawadzka

I hope you have been entertained by the excapades of Princess Persephone.. I am sure that she will be getting up to more mischief in the future.. not so sure about Princess Narcissus!   Thanks Sally

A strange encounter this morning that brought a smile to my face. #Cats


I woke up early this morning and decided to get on with some writing. I got to the bottom of the stairs, and thought I was seeing double.

Some years ago I bought a rather regal black cat figure for my mother, which resided on the fire surround, and seemed to watch us wherever we were in the room.

When my mother died we took the cat back to Madrid with us where he went on to star in Tales from the Garden. When we returned to Ireland he came with us, and is now inside our hall, by the front door, as a welcome to visitors. He is tucked into a corner, with just his face visible through the glass surround.

However, this morning, he had company.

 

When we first moved in to the house last June, and were decorating, we would leave the front door open to air the place out. One day a black cat walked in, and as we stood watching carefully, he or she, inspected the downstairs of the house, and then left again. As it left, it looked at us both as if to say ‘You’ll do’!  Since then I have seen him (he is quite big and beefy) a few times, but he has run off into the bushes if I have approached him. However, from time to time I catch him checking us out.  A few weeks ago I looked out of my office window to see him sitting watching me through the glass for several minutes before wandering off. He looks well fed but my guess is that he has been feral for a long time, and well able to catch his own dinner in the farmland around us.

Clearly he had caught sight of my stone cat and was checking it out, probably for gender! I slowly moved my boy around to face the window, and went off and collected my camera from the office. I returned and sat on the bottom step of the stairs and watched to see what would happen.

I took several snaps of the two of them and then decided to try my own luck with our visitor. I went and got a saucer of warm milk, opening the front door carefully, only to see him darting under the car. However, once I was back inside and had resumed my seat he crept back out, and emboldened by his new friend, finished the offering with much relish and licking of whiskers. I think it has been a long time since he had enjoyed that delicacy.

 

 

I believe black cats are lucky, and in fact I like all cats. David is allergic to them so we have not enjoyed the company of a house feline. However, over the years, a number of feral cats have seemed to find me, and in our last house in Ireland, I discovered a dying cat under a bush in my garden. He was Henry who starred in Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, and went on to father two kittens with a young floozy who turned up in the garden one day.

Henry and Sam were great pals but the cat would never come into the house, preferring to sit on my lap in the sunshine having a brush or lying on the sunbed with me. He was completely feral and would disappear when strangers arrived and bless him, he did have a particularly pungent aroma.

Sam checking out Henry’s grooming (or lack of) habits.. ‘Mate, you need a bath’

Sam and Henry taking advantage of the Irish sunshine

The black and white Floozy and Henry’s offspring.

The Floozy would not let me touch her, but when I arrived home one day from work, I found her two kittens, who were a few weeks old at the time, on the front door mat. They both had their eyes caked shut with infection, and I looked around to find their mother under a bush watching carefully. I picked both the kittens up (with strong gardening gloves as they were spitting and scratching hellions) and with Sam overseeing the operation, I gently washed their eyes with warm, lightly salty water. I then put them back out on the mat and she collected them.  This went on for a week until one day there was just one kitten who still had a minor infection. His mother and sister watched from under the bush until I put him back down again and he was collected. The next day there was no kitten for me to tend to but they would follow me around the garden at a distance as my guard of honour.

As you can see from the photograph they lived to grow into strapping and healthy cats. We lived on a couple of acres down a farm lane and there was an abundance of rats which provided them with plenty to eat. I did however supplement with scraps and also popped in some anti-parasitic herbs and worming tablets regularly. They would often leave me a gift on the doormat. Usually a very dead and large rat and I was not sure if I was supposed to cook it for them or for me!

I usually rewarded this gift with their favourite treat which was raw liver…

Anyway, I will be interested to see where my relationship with the black cat develops, but I will keep our stone cat facing outwards, and I suspect that he might be back to visit his new friend, and for a saucer of milk again tomorrow.

©images sallycronin

 

Cuentos de Smorgasbord – Diana de Sally Cronin – Traducción de Olga Nunez Miret


I have been considering having some of my books translated into Spanish for some time and luckily the supportive Olga Nunez Miret is an excellent person to take on the job in her role as professional translator. This story is from What’s in a Name and if all things go to plan it will be included in a Spanish anthology in aid of victims of Domestic Violence.

Olga will be working on Tales from the Garden in the near future and I look forward to sharing the book to those living in Spanish speaking countries.

Me disculpo por mi español

Espero que disfruten la historia de Diana

DIANA de Sally Cronin

Diana Grace era la única hija de unos padres mayores que se vieron sorprendidos muy agradablemente cuando descubrieron que después de quince años de casados un bebé estaba por fin de camino. Su padre era profesor de música y su madre psiquiatra y Diana había crecido en un hogar repleto de amor y risas.

No queriendo que su niña fuera la típica hija única, sus padres se aseguraron de que entendiera que los éxitos y el dinero solo se consiguen gracias al trabajo duro. Diana había empezado repartiendo periódicos de niña y de ahí pasó a trabajar en una panadería del barrio como aprendiz de vendedora mientras estudiaba en el instituto y luego en la universidad. A pesar de que la situación económica de sus padres era acomodada, insistieron en que contribuyera una parte de su paga para su mantenimiento y ella estaba orgullosa de darles esas pocas libras cada semana.

Ser una chica lista y extrovertida le abrió muchas puertas a Diana y, después de licenciarse en Filología inglesa, le ofrecieron un trabajo de asistente del director de una enorme librería en Oxford. Eso la llevó a mudarse de casa de sus padres a una casa compartida con tres chicas jóvenes que, como ella, empezaban sus vidas profesionales lejos de casa.

Los dos años siguientes pasaron rápidamente para Diana, mientras ella disfrutaba de su trabajo y también de una vida social ajetreada con el grupo de amigos íntimos que se había creado a su alrededor. Siguió yendo a visitar a sus padres por lo menos una vez al mes y ellos la vieron convertirse en una vibrante y bella mujer.

Un buen día Diana levantó la mirada del mostrador donde estaba comprobando una partida de libros nuevos y se encontró mirándole a la cara a un hombre muy atractivo. Alto, pelo oscuro que caía con gracia natural sobre su amplia frente, con unos labios gruesos y sonrientes, y un hoyuelo en su firme barbilla.

Se dio cuenta de que se lo había quedado mirando fijamente y recobró la compostura con rapidez.

—Buenos días, ¿puedo ayudarle en algo? —Diana colocó las manos delante de ella en el mostrador, de forma profesional, o al menos eso esperaba.

—Hola. Busco una copia de Grandes esperanzas para el cumpleaños de mi sobrino. ¿Tienen una edición reciente en stock?

Como si se hubiese dado cuenta de su turbación, el hombre inclinó la cabeza hacia un lado y la miró directamente a los ojos.

El romance que siguió podría describirse como un torbellino, ya que Diana se vio arrastrada por una pasión y una certeza que solo había conocido en los libros. En tan solo seis semanas lo llevó a su casa a conocer a sus padres y tres meses después se casaron en una iglesia que estaba a tan solo un corto paseo de la casa de sus padres. Se convirtió en la señora de Simon Forester y se pasó mucho tiempo repitiendo su nuevo nombre varias veces al día para que no se le olvidase su buena suerte.

Simon era banquero de inversiones y trabajaba en Londres. Ya tenía un piso en la zona de los Docklands y, después de la boda, Diana se trasladó allí con sus numerosas cajas de libros, su música y los regalos de boda. En un éxtasis de felicidad, y a pesar de tener que separarse de sus mejores amigos, se puso a buscar trabajo y encontró una librería en Holborn que necesitaba una encargada.

El torbellino no se detuvo ya que la vida social que el trabajo de Simon conllevaba era rápida y adictiva. Adoraba a su guapo marido y en secreto disfrutaba de las miradas que las otras mujeres les dirigían cuando entraban en una habitación. Si alguna queja tenía Diana, muy menor, era que sus padres nunca parecieron tomarle afecto a Simon. Cuando iban a visitarlos, un fin de semana o en alguna ocasión especial, siempre había tensiones que la preocupaban.

Fue justamente después de su tercer aniversario de bodas cuando apareció una grieta en su matrimonio. Diana pensó que su cena de celebración sería el momento más apropiado para contarle a Simon que iban a tener un bebé y que estaba embarazada de dos meses.

Él depositó su copa de vino, muy cuidadosamente, sobre el blanco mantel y posó sus fríos ojos sobre su cara, excitada y radiante.

—¿Cómo dejaste que pasara eso? —le escupió, mientras ella se quedaba boquiabierta ante su reacción.

Tiró la servilleta bruscamente sobre la mesa y llamó al camarero, exigiéndole la cuenta. Agarrándola del brazo con excesiva fuerza, la obligó a salir a marcha ligera del restaurante hacia su coche.

Un silencio gélido descendió sobre su matrimonio, con Simon trabajando muchas horas y negándose rotundamente a hablar del bebé. Al final, desesperada, Diana lo arrinconó en una ocasión en que llegó a altas horas de la mañana, claramente bebido, y le preguntó qué quería que hiciera.

Tras un momento de silencio, él se giró hacia ella y por un instante Diana entrevió el destello de su sonrisa de siempre, pero sin nada de su encanto.
…………………………………………………………….

Diana estaba tumbada sobre la cama y el dolor le irradiaba desde la pierna por todo el cuerpo hasta unirse a su pulsátil dolor de cabeza. Podía oír sollozos y alguien le estaba estrujando la mano que colgaba sin fuerzas a su costado. Cuando sus párpados se abrieron sintió como un aliento caliente subía por su brazo hasta su cuello y se acercaba a su oído.

—Si dices una sola palabra, me aseguraré de terminar el trabajo la próxima vez —. A ella la hizo estremecer la amenaza que se desprendía de su voz—. Te mareaste y te caíste escaleras abajo delante del piso, ¿te enteras, idiota de mierda?

Aterrorizada, Diana forcejeó, intentando liberar su brazo de su agarre y entonces sonó otra voz desde el pie de la cama.

—Es hora de que deje que su esposa descanse, Sr. Forrester y usted también tiene aspecto de necesitar dormir un poco— el tono decidido de la enfermera dejaba claro que eso no era una petición y Simon se levantó y le dio unas palmaditas en el brazo a Diana.

—Muy bien, querida. Nos vemos por la mañana —. Él se giró hacia la enfermera y le dedicó la mejor de sus sonrisas—. Cuide de ellos por mí, enfermera. Lo son todo para mí—. Con eso, pasó rozando junto a la enfermera y salió de la sala.

La enfermera se dirigió a la cabecera de la cama y apoyó una mano amable sobre el hombro de Diana.

—Tienes muchos morados y una conmoción pero por suerte caíste de lado. Tienes la barriga magullada, pero el bebé está bien y es muy fuerte, así que intenta no preocuparte—. Mientras seguía con sus comprobaciones, la enfermera miró a Diana a la cara, llena de moretones —. Sabes que si necesitas ayuda de cualquier tipo hay personas a las que podemos llamar —se quedó callada un segundo —. Has sufrido una caída muy desagradable y no sería bueno para ti o para tu bebé si eso volviese a pasar.

Colocó el botón de llamada en la mano de Diana y, satisfecha al haber hecho todo lo que podía, de momento, se dirigió al otro extremo de la sala para hablar con el médico. El analgésico le estaba empezando a hacer efecto, y aunque algo adormilada, Diana sabía que este era el momento para pensar y actuar con claridad. No era solo ella quien necesitaba protección sino también su niño por nacer. Nunca antes en su vida había sentido ira pero ahora se dio cuenta de que la opresión en su pecho y cabeza no eran tan solo resultado del empujón escaleras abajo que le había dado Simon delante de su piso. Era una necesidad profundamente arraigada e instintiva de proteger a su niño que aún no había nacido.

A la mañana siguiente, después de que los llamara por la noche la enfermera encargada de la sala, los padres de Diana estaban sentados al lado de su cama, cogiéndole las manos y hablando en voz baja. La puerta de la sala se abrió de golpe y Simon marchó dando zancadas por el suelo de mármol con un ramo de rosas rojas y dedicándoles sonrisas a las enfermeras al pasar. Miró hacia adelante y al ver a los padres de Diana la sonrisa se le congeló en los labios.

Al acercarse, notó que un hombre que había estado ligeramente oculto por las cortinas se dirigía al pie de la cama de Diana. Simon miró de refilón a su esposa, que estaba sentada apoyándose en la almohada, y se enfrentó a una frialdad y firmeza que no había visto nunca antes en la cara de su hasta entonces dócil mujer.

Oyó unos pasos que se acercaban resueltamente a su espalda y las rosas cayeron al suelo cuando le agarraron violentamente por los brazos y se los sujetaron por detrás.

Forcejeando con sus aprehensores se giró para confrontar al hombre de gesto serio frente a él.

—Simon Forester. Le arresto…

©SallyCronin 2016

Translated by Olga Nunez Miret

Olga Núñez Miret is a doctor, a psychiatrist, a student (of American Literature, with a Doctorate and all to prove the point, of Criminology, and of books and people in general), she writes, translates (English-Spanish and vice-versa) and although born in Barcelona, Spain, has lived in the UK for many years. She’s always loved books and is thrilled at the prospect of helping good stories reach more readers all around the world. She publishes a bilingual blog (http://www.authortranslatorolga.com ) where she shares book reviews, advice, talks about books (hers and others) and about things she discovers and enjoys.

Olga has translated her own books into Spanish of course and she has also translated some excellent Spanish books into English and you can find out more here. http://www.authortranslatorolga.com/translationstraducciones/

Books in Spanish or English by Olga Nunez Miret

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Audio bookshttp://authortranslatorolga.com/my-audiobooks/

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Gracias por tu visita. Espero que hayas disfrutado la historia.