It had been bright and crisp as she left home before dark but had turned into a wild winter’s morning on the beach – typical Yorkshire. Rain was being driven sideways against her face but Amy was feeling rejuvenated after a brisk walk. Anyone seeing her would have thought she was crackers out in this weather.
In dressing for her walk, the one thing she’d forgotten was her gloves, so her hands were blue despite stuffing them in her pockets and shaking her arms to help circulation. The exposed parts of her normally porcelain white cheeks were raw. She decided it was time to head back to her accommodation to await her lift.
She arrived back in plenty of time, admiring the formal fountain in front of the hotel. The hot air hit her as she crossed the well worn wooden board threshold and detoured into the taproom The landlord was just topping up the open fire as she entered, it smoked a little, then roared red and gold flames. She let her hands roast over the fire briefly, then moved away to prevent herself being braised by the now intense heat. Settled by the fire, with a lovely dark ale from their selection of craft beer and a packet of salted peanuts, her silver hair caught glints from the stained glass window behind her.
With nothing to distract her she mulled over her situation and her defences started to crumble, tears started to fall. She dashed back to her room, knocking her shin on a step in her haste. Her husband had left her six months previous, giving her a potted history of what she’d done wrong over the last twenty years, accusing her of becoming fat and permanently pickled from the amount of alcohol she drank. It had really knocked the stuffing out of her, men really can be pigs.
She washed her face, composed herself and looked in the long mirror, giving herself a mental rocket up the backside. If only he could see her now, slimmed down, fit and drinking for pleasure not escape, now free of his domineering personality that had completely ground her down. She wondered how his new lady would match up.
There was no need to change for the day’s activity, so she added a few cheery, seasonal accessories to her outfit and picked up her gloves and some parcels. She resisted the temptation to dive under the blankets and hibernate, took a deep breath and returned downstairs.
People were starting to gather, all dressed like her and she made herself chat with them. A voice eventually made itself heard above the hubbub and took a roll call. All twelve of them were confirmed present and they piled into the minibus heading to help at the local Christmas dinner for the homeless.
She noticed one of her fellow volunteers and wondered if a little sauce might be added to the menu today.