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Down In The Valley

By Gaynor Vine All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Adventure


Nikki and Bill moved to the country to look after their parents, but bit by bit, their lives changed, until it got to the stage where they didn't even recognise themselves anymore. Their lives were no longer about what they wanted; it was about their parents, and how they fitted in to their lives; leaving them feeling like they were trapped Out of their own desperation to experience life again they begin to think of ways in which they could get people in the village talking. They wanted to get to know about the people in the village so that they can start talking about something new. The village goes on a spiritual journey of transformation; not only changing the stories that are being told in the village, but also finding out new discoveries each day. The stories they hear open up a completely new view of the world around them, and helps to change and shape their own future in ways that they never thought possible.

A View Of The Valley Below

“It is so peaceful up here; I don’t know what it is; but all of the colours seem to stand out. There are different shades of green in each of the meadows; and from where I am, I can see what crops are being grown in the fields. And with the trees and the lake in between these fields, it paints such a pretty picture; everything in its right place, and each flowing perfectly. I always feel different up here; all the stresses of the day are gone, almost like I am looking out at another world.”

“Everything looks so small; I can just make out the High Street, with each person going about their day, doing things that seem so predictable. I don’t know what it is about this place; but people do the same thing day in and day out.”

“There is Mrs Richards darting up the High Street to the post office; on time as usual. She goes there every week on a Tuesday at 11.30am; I don’t think I have ever seen her miss a week; well, for the last year anyway. Before that, I never noticed her doing that routine; in fact, I hadn’t really noticed her in town, unless she was doing her shop. But for the last year she has been coming here every Tuesday.”

“She is such a strange one; she is a beautiful woman, but she seems to hide it, and always walks with her head down when she is in town. But there seems to be a lot people like that here; sometimes I see them up here on the hill, and they seem to so happy, as if they don’t have a care in the world. But when they are in town, amongst other people, they act totally different; as she does. We chat when we are up the hill; and I often see her smiling; but when we are in town, she doesn’t talk at all. She always seems to be in a rush and has something else on her mind. And there is definitely something about a Tuesday, because she won’t talk to you then. I did ask her about it once, but she wouldn’t talk about it; she changed the subject and looked quite offended, almost as if I was stalking her, she left me standing there and continued on her journey to the post office.”

Nikki smiled to herself, thinking about Mrs Richards “She is a really nice woman though; she has 5 children who run her ragged, and that husband of hers doesn’t do anything; lazy bugger. She looks after everyone; the kids are always clean, and she makes sure that her husband’s food is always on the table for him when he gets home from work. And twice a week she helps out at the school, and reads stories to the children. But there is something she is hiding; why does she go to the post office on a Tuesday at 11.30am, no earlier and no later, always at 11.30am. And why doesn’t she want us to know about it?”

She watched her to go into the post office, shrugged her shoulders and thought, “Oh well, we are all entitled to a bit of privacy.”

Then she saw someone else walking up the hill “Here comes Bill; he is another funny one to watch. He always walks up the hill with his head down and dragging the poor dog.” She laughed to herself “By the look of the two of them, you would think that they were both old, but they are not. Well the dog is but Bill isn’t; he is the same age as me, 40. We are not old, but we may as well be; we don’t have a social life. I can’t even remember the last time I went out and had a laugh with my friends. And I know that Bill has a lot of things going on in his life; his mother passed away a few years ago, and then his father had a heart attack, so he moved here to help him.”

“The same thing happened with me; my mother hadn’t been very well, and needed someone to look after her. She had home help for a while, but that was really depressing her, and she kept saying that she had lost everything. So I decided to take some time off work and come down here to help her out.

But coming here also helped me; when this happened; there had been loads of things going on in my life. I hadn’t been having a very good time with men, and I couldn’t seem to hold down a relationship. I don’t know what it was; most of the men I met were really nice, but there always seemed to be something missing, and I had one disastrous relationship after another. My mother said I was too picky, but I do think we should be picky. If you are going to spend a lot of time with someone, then they had to be right. But that certainly isn’t a problem anymore; I haven’t been in a relationship with anyone since I came here to look after my mother, and that was 3 years ago.”

“I can’t believe it’s been three years since I moved here, three years of doing the same thing all the time. Perhaps Bill is right; we are getting old before our time.” She thought about the way her life was now “I am sure being around old people all the time rubs off on you; some days I feel older than my mother, and just as confused. And I know that Bill puts up with a lot with his father, he can be a stubborn man, and has him doing everything. I quite often ask myself how I ended up looking after my mother and the same with Bill. They are not that old, they are not even 70, and the both of them can move about freely. How did we end up staying here?”

All these thoughts were going around in her head, and she got lost in it all, until she finally pulled herself out of it “Shit; I got so wrapped up in dreaming that I missed Bill do his ritual. I have got to stop doing that; I always seem to get lost in thought these days. I don’t know why, but this has been coming up a lot lately. I keep thinking about the way my life used to be, but I can’t remember any of the fun stuff. Whenever I think about my old life, and try to remember the things I liked to do, but I keep remembering the failed relationships I had or me losing my job.” She sigh “Why can’t I remember the good times I had; surely there must have been some. What is it; why can’t I remember anything?”

She continued going over everything in her mind, trying to put the pieces together “Perhaps it is because when I talk to my mother about going back to the city and getting my life together again, she reminds me of when she was ill, and how she needs me, and all I can remember is what brought me here first place. I love my mother deeply, but I can’t do this anymore, I feel like I am going crazy.” She laughed to herself “Well, I must be crazy, if I keep talking to myself like this. I have got to do something about this, but what? Surely there must be something in this place that I can do; something that doesn’t make me feel like I am slowly being suffocated.”

“I wonder if Bill feels like this; I know he has it hard with his father. I have watched him; he looks so sad when I see him in town, or just before he comes up the hill. He walks with his head down, almost like he doesn’t want to see where he is, and he doesn’t look up until he has got to the top of the hill. Now that is the part I like watching; once he gets to the top of the hill, he takes a deep breath in, holds in hands out to the side, and looks up to the sky. And with that; it is like he is letting go of everything and he becomes another person. I never tire of watching this; once he has done this, everything about him changes; his face looks relaxed and he has a smile on his face. Even the colour of his skin changes; he looks healthier, like he has been on holidays and he has a skip in his step.”

“He has just completed his ritual and turns and looks down at the dog with such fondness. She is getting on now; she is a short dog, with dark brown hair with cream bits, which looks a bit of a mess. She is what you would call a Heinz variety; a mixture of everything. I think there is a bit of a Yorkshire terrier in her, a Jack Russell, and a few other breeds. It is hard to pin point what breed she is, but she is a really nice dog; always friendly, and has such a nice character to her.”

“You can see that the dog loves him; she waits patiently for him to notice her. He ruffles the top of her head, removes her lead, and says, “Go on girl, go and run” and off she goes running freely through the long grass. It is strange, but even the dog seems to come alive up here, it’s like you taken a few years off her. She isn’t old anymore; she is running around like a spring chicken.”

“Bill stands up and looks around at the view taking it all in, and with each scene that passes in front of him, the more you can see him relax, and a smile begins to form on his face. He takes another deep breath and as he looks around, he spots me.”

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