Flash Fortnightly #10

20 Mar

Words 2

Welcome to Flash Fortnightly! 

Laura Besley

My name is Laura Besley and I’m an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Over the years I’ve met thousands of students of all ages from many different countries in the world. This job really suits me as I love meeting people and learning about different languages and cultures. After working in England for a couple of years, I moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where I taught Business English for two years and now I’m living in Hong Kong. This small pocket of Asia is a perfect blend of East meets West and is rich in colour, noise and inspiration.

That brings me nicely onto writing. I’ve been writing on and off since childhood and did my degree in English Literature and Film Studies. When I was in Germany I started writing a bit more regularly and in Hong Kong I’ve really had the time to dedicate to my writing. In 2011 I joined the Hong Kong Writers Circle and a critique group which allowed me to start looking at my work with a more critical eye. On 4th May 2012 I embarked on a project to write one piece of flash fiction a day. I’ve always seen myself as a novelist, but actually I’ve found that I really love writing short pieces as it gives you plenty of room to experiment with style, voice, characters and settings. And each day I can write something new.

I hope you enjoy this ‘Flash Fortnightly’ entry and I’ll be back on Wednesday 3rd April 2013 with some more…


Letters from the Past

She still had his letters; all 46 of them, in date order, bound by a purple and white ribbon. Nineteen were on lined white paper, ripped out of a school notebook. Fifteen of them were on various newspaper cuttings, comic strips or magazine photos. But her favourites were the twelve in blue envelopes; stationary he’d snuck out of his grandma’s desk.

The summer of 1994 was the hottest on record to date and Sebastian, then known as Seb and now referred to again as Sebastian, had a paper round that took him past Libby’s house on the Peppermill estate. Her bedroom window, he discovered, was the one directly above the tall front door. They took GCSE Art together, but whereas he sat close to the front, alone, she sat at the back giggling and chatting to her friends.

Alright?’ he mumbled, recognising the girl in the matching blue and grey uniform.
She glanced up from the magazine open on her lap. ‘Alright. What are you here for?’
‘Check-up. You?’
‘Waiting for my mum. She’s having a filling.’
She smiled, closed the magazine and tossed it back onto the table to join the other three-month old editions. ‘Have you finished your assignment for Mr Harrison yet?’
The redness grew like ivy up his neck, over his chin and spread across his cheeks. ‘Nah, haven’t started it yet.’
‘You have, I can tell.’ She poked him in the ribs with her elbow. ‘Bet it’s going to be ace.’
He looked at the ground. ‘What d’you mean?’
‘Your artwork is always brilliant. I wish I could draw like you.’
He clamped a hand over his mouth, but his grin escaped. ‘Cheers.’
Hidden in her en suite bathroom, Libby perched on the edge of the cream coloured bath and unfolded the snoopy cartoon strip, which had been the first thing to arrive on the fifteenth of May. It had been sellotaped together with about half a metre of tape and her name had been printed on the front in capital letters. She had known immediately who it was from, but despite her sister’s endless questioning and teasing, her lips had remained firmly sealed.

A tear fell onto the paper. She wiped it away quickly before it made the ink run, like the previous tears had done. In a box with the letters she also kept many of Seb’s recent cartoons, from the Guardian and the Times, as well as clippings about his recent art exhibitions and the opening of his gallery in Covent Garden.

 Libby!’ her husband called out. ‘What are you doing?’

 Hastily she splashed some cold water on her red and swollen face, shoved everything back in the box and tucked it into the top of the airing cupboard.

 Nothing.’ She stared at herself for a long time in the bathroom mirror. ‘Nothing,’ she whispered.
Sebastian Davis, renowned artist and cartoonist, never thought about Libby Birch, neé Darlington.

Laura Besley

To be honest I don’t really know where the idea of this story came from. I do have a lot of letters, which I’ve loved receiving over the years I’ve lived abroad, and would never dream of throwing them away.

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my  blog: Living Loving and WritingOr you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley or connect on facebook Laura Besley Writer

3 Responses to “Flash Fortnightly #10”

  1. frenzyofflies March 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    I’m not ashamed to admit that I had tears in my eyes when I read that one 😉 It grabs you by the heart! Wonderful write, Laura 🙂

    • laurabesley March 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      Thanks a lot, Greg. What a compliment (although I don’t purposefully set out to make grown men cry ;))

      • frenzyofflies March 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

        Ha! :))

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