Jim woke up and looked at the ceiling, thinking about what he’d read the night before.
Could the writer be Jenny?
Was it an attempt to reach out for contact, or just a reminiscing thought of someone long in the past, triggered by the date and a calendar event?
Brian was already in the workshop when he arrived so coffee would be on.
Sara had printed off a copy of the letter, which at the moment was burning a hole in Jim’s pocket.
‘Mornin’ Bri. You got a minute before we start?’
‘Sure. What’s on your mind?’
‘What do you make of this?’
‘You really think it’s Jenny?’
‘Hell, I don’t know. Sara thinks so, but I’m not so sure. It’s familiar, yes, but it could be intended for anyone. Sara reads loads of different things on the internet, and you know what a romantic she can be sometimes. You knew Jenny pretty well, what do you reckon?’
‘I’d only got to know her through the garage and she was one of the first people I told I was going solo. She promised her support and custom, and that of your Dad of course.
Money was always tight for her, hence our little arrangement, but she was brilliant at making a little go a long way.’
‘Yeah, I remember that too. Part of it rubbed off on me I guess. She told me that expensive didn’t necessarily mean the best or that cheap was always rubbish.’
‘From what I recall, she had a bit of money when she moved in with your Dad. He knew that of course. She had to get a job when her money ran out though and he wasn’t too happy at her strict budgeting after that. She and Zoe had some productive discussions on finance and credit. It was one of the reasons we liked her, always offering her advice if asked without being pushy. She never took advantage and always got her priorities right.
The day before she left she gave me seventy quid and told me to get your Dad’s car back on the road. It was more than enough to cover it, and I confess we ‘recovered it’ from your Dad when the MOT work was done and sent her a cheque. Zoe had a letter to say how grateful she was as she was a ‘bit short’, and had just started a secondary evening job to meet the bills she’d run up living with you.’
‘We never went without, you know. We were well fed, our friends were always welcome, and we were never scruffy. She did mail order for our clothes, three of everything……….’
In unison they chorused ‘One clean, one on and one in the wash! ‘ and laughed, getting ready to start the day.
As they were locking up at six o’clock, Brian turned to Jim and said,
‘You say Sara found that letter on the internet?’
‘Yep. The woman has a blog apparently.’
‘Well, you may be able to contact her and find out for sure. There’s usually email addresses or comment boxes for response. Have a chat with Sara and see what she thinks.
One thing I do know, Jenny would not want to embarrass you, or cause you any trouble, especially between you and your family.’
‘Oh, that’s already gone down the toilet. Dad and Dave contact us only when they want something, which is usually a handout. With Gran gone and Mum remarried and abroad, there’s nobody else. Sara and the kids are all that matter to me now.’
‘OK. ‘Night. See you in the morning.’
‘Yeah, goodnight. And thanks.’
Eric was at the youth club so Sara and Jim had the evening to themselves after putting the younger ones to bed.
She got out her laptop, and as she’d bookmarked the relevant page, was able to go straight to it.
‘There you are,’ she said pointing to the bottom of the screen.
‘Comments. Are you sure? What do you want to say?’
Jim looked up at her, confusion and anxiety written all over his face.
‘God, I don’t know! She could be a complete stranger who’ll think I’m some nutter or she could be someone I knew and loved a long time ago…………Oh Sara, I don’t know. Is this a good idea? ‘
Two hours later, they hit the ‘send’ button.
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