‘Cheap Flight’ in Words from an Island, vol. II

My story ‘Cheap Flight’ appears in the second volume in the Words from an Island series,  published in 2015. It’s contributors include Pauline Prior-Pitt, Kenneth Steven, Donald S. Murray, Lindsay Macgregor, Anne O’Brien, and others, with a foreword by Linda Cracknell.

His father phoned him early January. Rob imagined his mother telling him to. You phone him, I always do it.There was a silence after the hellos. Another after Rob had said he was fine. He expected his mother to take the phone then but instead he heard his father sniff. Rob searched for something to say.

‘Been playing much golf?’

‘Your mother said I shouldn’t call. Said you’ll no be interested.’

It was the flat tone of his voice. Somehow Rob knew what was coming.

‘I’m retiring. We’re retiring. The last of the early morns. We thought… I thought you’d want to come back now. Take over, like.’

Rob had worked in the bakery for three years before he left home. Longer, if you counted mornings and Saturdays while he’d still been at the school. Waking every day to a thump on his door. The three of them moving quietly about the house, taking turns in the bathroom, finally facing each other to put their coats on in the hall. The silence inside the car on those dark empty streets, flicking all the lights on inside the shop, the air changing as the ovens heated up. White sliced, bloomer, plain, pancakes, doughrings, scones. Pineapple cups. Chocolate snowballs. He left when he was nineteen. Took his passport and a backpack and bummed around Europe for a year. He’d told them he’d be back. His mother had said later that she’d known he wouldn’t […]