Providence Added£0.99
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(A short story of 5688 words)



by Lara Bardsley

Providence is a collection of three short memoirs. The stories reveal a mother haunted by the loss of her family. Her child becomes a woman, shaped by the loss of her ancestors, deepened by the compassion for the suffering she witnessed and the resilience that grew from it.

My family was comfortable with silence perhaps more comfortable with it than not. Astrid's parents would talk to each other at the dinner table baring their lives and thoughts while we wiped the tomato sauce off our faces with our sleeves or the other kids fought over the remaining spaghetti bolognaise. At their kitchen table I heard strange things and ate strange things. Astrid's Grandparents were called ‘Oma’ and ‘Opa’. It was only years later that I realized that this was because they were her father’s parents and these titles meant ‘Grandma’ and ‘Grandpa’ in German. At the time I thought these elderly people who always said "almond" at the end of grace had very strange names. Astrid's father Heinz spoke with a thick accent. I was fascinated as I listened to him speak his tone plucked chords somewhere inside me that stirred memories that belonged to my mother's lost childhood. Sometimes I felt a little frightened of him I wasn't sure why he had the sweetest and most patient nature. I was in awe of Cooky Astrid's mother. Her direct no-nonsense assertiveness was the antithesis of my mother's social nicety and won her the affectionate but undisclosed title of "the Cookie Monster." Once she said to me that it was about time that I learnt to play instead of presenting myself as a miniature adult. I was really hurt at the time and ran home. As I grew older I came to respect what Cookie said to me. Her bluntness blew away the cobwebs of the secrecy that I carried and made me feel safe...

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