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'A Small World' by Katherine Frances Jennifer Fisher

LISP 2nd Half 2021 Flash Fiction Finalist 'A Small World' by Katherine Frances Jennifer Fisher

A Small World

Pausing outside the spare bedroom, she felt a tremor. His domain. Now he was gone, but it still felt like a trespass. She was looking forward to her new life in the annexe of her daughter’s house. A liberation after 50 years of old-fashioned marriage. ‘I don’t know how you put up with him, Mum,’ her daughter had said, before giving up the argument as a waste of time.

He wasn’t really difficult; he gave her the housekeeping each week. A 1950’s bride, she had liked playing at house, adored being a mother but somehow, she had slipped into middle, then old age, in an unchanging domestic routine. She had dreamed of going to Paris; wide streets, the Louvre, café’s, its beauty and glamour - but they never had, always renting a summer caravan on the south coast. A gradual diminution of expectations until she had forgotten she had ever had them.

A smell of him; trestle tables for his electric trains. Engines and carriages had been put away in boxes, the tracks had been left; with little bridges, signs, platforms, tiny suitcases, human figures. His small world.


The auctioneer motioned towards the porter holding the toy engine, ‘This is part of a rare collection, selling today’ he bellowed. Widow and daughter, watching amongst the jumbled furniture and stacked pictures. Gasping at the bids as the treasured trains were each held aloft until, at £21,000, the gavel fell to applause. ‘Thank you, ladies and gentlemen! Our next lot is number 328 – a lovely watercolour of Paris. Who’ll start me off…?’ The daughter took her mother’s arm but she, resisting, was transfixed, by the large picture in the porter’s hands; the Eiffel tower, blue skies, rooftops. ‘Hurry up Mum!’. Turning, she whispered back to her daughter, ‘It’s not too late.’



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