Hot Love, by Isobella Stewart

“Well if you’re sure you can arrange it, we’ll call it a deal” she said to Michelle, who specialised in house clearances, selling her finds each Sunday at the local car boot sale.

“I’d like to pay you in advance, yes honestly” she’d insisted despite Michelle’s protestations.  Handing over the folded notes along with her address, she put Michelle’s dog-eared card into her purse saying  “My solicitor will get in touch with you when I’m gone. I’ll leave instructions”.

“Are you sure” Michelle had asked, becoming somewhat anxious, shifting from foot to foot as she realised that she was being asked to take on what was after all the sort of responsibility a family might have been expected to shoulder”, but hard cash was always useful.

“Yes” quite sure, Jenny Malone had said.

Her glory days were over, of that she was certain, and she struggled to find pleasure in the small simple things of life, which was, she supposed, what ageing women were advised to do.  And sdhe worried.   One morning she had eased her feet out from under her curled-up cat, who regarded the entire wide bed as her exclusive territory, and moved stiffly over to the window.   As she pulled aside the heavy lined curtains she gave a little gasp or pleasure and astonishment as the excluded sun streamed.

Suddenly everything was clear. She knew exactly what she needed to do.

With no immediate family now, she’d realised some time ago that arrangements had to be made, somehow.  How had been the difficulty. One day as she chatted to Michelle while buying a small unglazed terracotta pot, shaped like an apple, complete with lid and a stem-like protruberance, so naive she wondered if it had been made by an enthusiastic and loving child,   that here in person, resplendent in a worn sheepskin coat, violet sombrero and sheepskin boots, worn summer  and winter, was the answer to her problems.

Nowadays she often smiled to herself as she visualised the once displayed but now hidden objects, all made like the little pot,   from materials plundered at one time from the earth herself. The ornate pewter wine cooler, the rock crystal gold-trimmed covered cup, and the gold gem set tiara, said intriguingly to have been made in the 15C for a statue of the Virgin, now all carefully snugly wrapped in a heavy wooden box on the bottom shelf of her wardrobe.  No longer need she worry about them, and she’d done her very best by Daddy, the long-gone Fingers Malone AKA Museum-master.    Michelle would know what to do when the time came, of that she’d no doubt.





About claire collison

Writer, photographer, creative facilitator, and breast cancer survivor, I am currently Artist in Residence at the Women's Art Library (WAL) My first novel was a finalist in the Dundee Book Prize, and my short stories and poetry have appeared in print and online. In 2015 I was awarded second place in the inaugural Resurgence Prize, the world's first eco poetry competition, judged by Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. This blog began as a space for words generated on my walking/writing workshops at the Mary Ward centre in Bloomsbury - Writing the City (WTC). WTC has since grown to include many other venues, including the Museum of Broken Relationships, the Barbican, the River Rom, Southwark Woods, Aylesbury Estate, and most recently, as part of Walking Women festival, An Intimate Tour of Breasts. I have worked with Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, as the recipient of the first Max Reinhardt Literacy Award, designing teaching resources; and for The Photographers' Gallery, helping school children develop visual literacy as part of 'Seeing More Things'. If you would like me to design a workshop or walk for you, please be in touch!
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