for Ragtag Daily Prompt where Christine has chosen ‘disagreeable’ as the given word.
You don’t think things through as a kid do you? You don’t consider the consequences or effect of your actions. It’s just harmless fun when you are ten, isn’t it?
Hilda Hodge’s shrieking voice still lingers in my mind. She always seemed so disagreeable. Even now I can see her waving her fist as we ran for cover giggling about our latest prank. After all, what harm could a firework through a letterbox do? We taunted her repeatedly. ‘Grumpy Grandma’ we used to yell, ‘Grumpy Grandma’.
It wasn’t until last week that I felt the guilt; realised what we had done all those years ago.
I work for the local council doing house clearances. Someone dies and nobody cares, so we go in and empty the place. We went to Hilda’s dilapidated house.
I pushed open the door, sweeping aside a pile of unopened letters and junk mail. I stood for a while taking in everything around me, realising that there was more to Hilda than the screaming woman I remembered. I felt a cold draft.
I was surrounded by fragments of a life I’d never considered. A walking stick, an empty birdcage, an unwashed teacup. A half-knitted kid’s jumper. On a dresser, stood several framed photos; photos of children. One holding a certificate, another dancing in a bright costume to an audience of applauding adults.
A girl in a wheelchair, a boy in a bed attached to machines by tubes.
On the floor was a letter. It was from a children’s hospice; just a few sentences. Thank you, Mrs Hodges, it said, and below were dozens of children’s names; big, small, wobbly and neat, the way kid’s signatures are. And kisses. Lots of kisses.
I hope we’ll meet one day Mrs Hodge. You know, up there. I don’t expect you to forgive me but I least I can say sorry.