A short story by Fruitcake @barjan
Maisie & Doris strolled along the sea front, as they often did on a fine afternoon, sometimes they would stroll in companionable silence, just
enjoying each other’s company, sometimes, like today, they would find all sorts to chat about. Maisie & Doris have been friends for over forty
years, since they met when their children were small, quite by accident along this very sea front, Maisie’s little boy, David, had kicked
his ball and knocked the ice cream cornet held by Doris’ daughter, Janet, clean out of her hand, of course Janet had cried and Maisie had scolded
David, another ice cream had been bought and Maisie & Doris struck up an immediate friendship.
“Our David’s Jonathon has gone off to university you know” Maisie now proudly told Doris ,“Oh it doesn’t surprise me” Doris said, “He’s a bright lad, mind you, your David’s no idiot is he?”, “No he’s not, but Katie’s a bright girl, done ever so well in her job so I suppose Jonathon and Amelia ought to be quite bright really having intelligent parents, mind you Amelia’s a different kettle of fish! Can’t see her going to university, much too
interested in fashion and boys! Oh! she’s bright enough, no flies on that one, but you couldn’t wish for a more kind hearted girl either”. Doris stopped walking for a minute and, turning to Maisie, said “Do you know Maisie I could see your Amelia running one of these big fashion companies”, Maisie stood for a while and answered “I think you’ve hit on something there Doris! I hadn’t thought about her in that kind of job, but she would suit something like that wouldn’t she?”
They both gazed out towards the sea for a few minutes, reflecting on their conversation and breathing in the sea air, whilst enjoying the sights and sounds of the sea and it’s beach, without speaking they both turned in unison and continued their stroll.
After a while Maisie said “How’s your Janet’s boy getting on? You haven’t told me how he’s liking it in Australia”, “Oh I think they’re settling in okay, although Janet hasn’t said too much about it, I don’t think she’s forgiven him yet for taking them over there! I can understand her side of it, after all she’s only got Robert and his and Josie’s two are the only grandchildren her and Richard have got, but I can also see that Australia is a
wonderful country in which to bring up a family ” replied Doris.
“Ooh I’m going to take the weight off my feet for a minute”, Maisie said as she sat down on a bench, Doris sat down beside her and said “I know I say it nearly every time we stroll along here Maisie, but who’d have thought all those years ago, when your David knocked Janet’s ice cream out of her hand, that we’d still be friends all these years later eh?”
The two of them looked completely unmatched, Doris small, petite in build, her short, well coiffured hair still thick and with it’s original mousy
brown colour, Maisie fairly tall, quite square in build and with slightly wispy, white hair cut into a fashionable bob, one thing they did have in
common was that they were always dressed immaculately, with very well thought out accessories, a classy string of pearls worn with a round neckline, always with earrings to match, a fashionably tied scarf in colours to tone beautifully with the coat or suit worn, handbag always matching shoes, oh! they made quite a classy pair!
Bridie glanced out of the coffee shop window, as she was straightening the table cloth on the little table for two by the window, “Here come the duchesses” she said with a smile to the owner, Vicky, “You shouldn’t call them that”, Vicky admonished, “You’ll slip up one of these days and they’ll hear you!”, although she did think the name was rather appropriate, they were two very elegant ladies and always called in when on an afternoon stroll,
although it was only their elegance that gave them the appearance of being “Upper crust”, as Bridie put it, neither of them had the “Plum in the mouth” type of speech.
“Oh here we are Doris, our little coffee shop, I’m always ready for a sit down and a drink by the time we get here aren’t you?” said Maisie, “Too right”, Doris replied, “Lovely couple of girls in here too aren’t they?”, nodding in agreement Maisie pushed open the door and they made for the table by the window, where they usually sat, if it was vacant. “Good afternoon ladies, what can I get you?”, Bridie asked, they ordered their drinks and Doris chose a toasted teacake to have with hers, Maisie a buttered scone.
They sat looking out of the window enjoying the refreshments and the view in amiable silence, suddenly Doris said,”What are you thinking about
Maisie?”, “Well, you’ll never believe it but I was actually thinking about when you and your Bert and me and my Alfie went on that coach trip to
Spain together, do you remember?” Maisie said, “Oh how could I forget!” Doris replied, “Whatever made you think of that?”, “Well can you see that couple down there near the promenade?”, Doris peered out of the window, craning her neck, “Oh you mean the chap wearing the pink jumper and the girl in that short skirt?” she said, “Yes” said Maisie, “Well they just reminded me of the couple that sat behind us on the coach, do you remember,
couldn’t leave each other alone?”, Doris grinned, “Trust you to remember that” she said, giving Maisie a playful punch.
Bridie and Vicky were watching the two women, in between serving, “I wonder what those two find to talk about”, Bridie said, “They’ve been coming in here most days ever since you opened three years ago and still they find something to natter about each time!”, “Probably what expensive shop they’re going to go to next for more clothes I should think, they always look so well dressed”, Vicky replied.
Maisie & Doris left the coffee shop and made their way back along the sea front, stopping on the way to stroke a little black dog which was being
tugged along by a couple of cheeky little boys, “What’s his name?” asked Doris, “It’s a girl” said the taller of the boys, “And her name’s Sadie” he said, “Oh that’s a nice name” said Maisie, “Do you always take her for a walk?”, “Not always”, answered the smaller boy, “But Mum said we must take her for her walk to earn our pocket money”, he continued, Doris & Maisie concealed their smiles and Doris said, “Well good for you, enjoy your walk”.
“What a nice couple of little lads!” Maisie remarked ,“Oh here’s our turning Doris, now are we partaking in our usual activity today?”, “Well I did do the leaves this morning and the letters B and O were most definite so we could have a look couldn’t we?”, replied Doris. They walked slowly up the road and headed for a shop with an obscured glass frontage, “David and Katie think it’s wonderful that I’ve won so much money at Bingo and can afford such nice clothes”, said Maisie with a definite twinkle in her eye, Doris looked at her and gave a broad smile, “Yes my Janet and Richard think the same about me too!”, they both chuckled with laughter.
Maisie & Doris opened the door of the shop and went in, “Good afternoon ladies and how are you both on this fine day?”, said a tall chap in a
checked shirt, waistcoat and jeans, “Well I think we’re both absolutely fine aren’t we Maisie?” replied Doris, “Yes we are, thank you, now could we see the list for 4.30pm please?” Maisie said, “Certainly ladies, here we are”, said the chap and turned to point at a screen behind him, “Look, look Maisie” said Doris pointing a shaking finger at the screen, “Do you see the third one down?”, “Well, it’s got to be hasn’t it?”, said Maisie, they
turned away from the screen and stood whispering, while George, the man in the shop, stood watching them in a bemused fashion, they returned to speak
to him and Maisie said, “We would like ｣50 to win on Burnt Orange please”, “Are you sure about that ladies?”, said George, “Yes please” they both replied.
“I don’t know how they always do it”, George thought to himself as he handed them their substantial winnings, “They come in here, pick a rank outsider, always back it to win and nearly every time it romps home!”.
Maisie & Doris linked arms and strolled along making their way home.