She left home that morning with a suitcase full of clothes and a vague idea in her head about where she was going and what she was looking for. She left home that morning and she drove towards the rain, and at each village she reached she thought she would stop. But when she got there, she decided she would go one further, just a little further, because she wasn’t quite that tired or hungry or thirsty or finished yet.
And it wasn’t right. That was the main problem. Each village she reached she passed because it wasn’t right. What was she looking for exactly? If only she knew. The drive had done nothing to clear her mind, and the only thing she was sure of was that she was done with the place she lived in, and needed a fresh start. But it was some sort of idyll that she wanted, some kind of perfection. A little village with a shop and a pub and a post office. With a school that held ten pupils and a playground that held many more. No graffiti, no litter, no crime. A house with a view and an open fireplace and a creaky old staircase. A village green on which cricket was played in the summer and where on May Day the villagers gathered round the maypole to watch the children dancing. A place where people said hello when they passed one another in the street and were pleased to see you when you popped in for a cup of tea.
As she drove, the rain beginning to pitter pat on her windscreen and the day beginning to darken. Her eyes closed of their own accord and she whipped them open in fright, still on the road but only just. The next village would have to be the one.
She stopped the car outside a pretty little cottage with a dark wooden front door, a cosy glow curling from inside where, no doubt, a fire was blazing in the inglenook fireplace. Across the quiet street was a village green, a cricket pavilion on the far side. Further down the road a pub was playing folk music, the strains of a fiddle just reaching her ears, teasing her, not loud enough for her to hear the tune.
She knocked on the door of the cottage, wondering whether anyone would be in, and if they were whether they would mind a total stranger asking for food and shelter. The door opened. “You made it,” said the man inside, a man she recognised as her father, even though he had been dead for many years now. “We were worried. Come in, get dry by the fire. We’ve been waiting for you.”
She smiled. She had found heaven.
©Lisamarie Lamb 2011