Harrogate By The Sea

The fifth instalment of a six part series.

25 March 2017

Dear Margaret,

The street is awash with cars delivering families and flowers. I imagine somewhere a woman shouting, “fuck you, mother’s day” as she stands in the kitchen preparing a meal for her large family, who bored, check their phones, convinced that this is what she wants.

Frank and I lived with this kind of indifference for a long time. It rippled through our relationship, turning us into strangers. When I noticed Frank standing at the back of the hall after the concert, I knew at that moment that it was over. He drove me home, a little nervous I realised when we got to the house, and he couldn’t get the key in the lock. We talked late into the night, mostly around the things we should have been talking about. I asked him “what will I do?” and he replied, “keep living.” The next morning Frank packed up most of his belongings and left. Later, I noticed his house keys hanging in their usual spot and it reminded me of our first date. Frank took me to a restaurant and ordered us both soup. Ten minutes later this coarse, grainy chowder arrived with a poached egg suspended in the middle of each bowl like a dog curled up on quicksand. Keen to impress, I stuck my spoon into the runny yolk and pulled it through the pale green soup, which was as far as I could take it. I made up some excuse about the soup spoiling my appetite for the main course and set it aside. On the drive home, he asked me what I thought of the meal, and I talked about everything except soup.

Thank you for driving me to the concert, for helping me when I should have been reaching out to you.

Your neighbour.


Jenny Hill is a story writer at Writer of Things.