THE WIDOW’S TALE by Linda Birch

This is an extract from a piece written by Linda Birch following a writing course she attended as a regular student here at Higham with Tutor Nicholas Corder.



She caught the bus to town for the first time in forty years, it felt alien. A neat woman in her mid sixties Mary felt out of place, sitting in her dark cashmere coat (out of respect for her position) while next to her slumped the youth of the estate in ripped jeans and baseball caps.

The town was crowded the shops busy with weekend trading, she felt a stranger in her own town. As long as she stuck to her grocery list and avoided the shops they used, she was fine.


With a lighter bag than usual she braved the Mark and Spencer coffee shop and sat quite alone her tea and a cake in front of her. A sip of tea, a bite of cake; how long could she keep it up without running out from the place in tears knowing she was truly alone and would be from now on.


Bill was gone, had been gone now for eight weeks. The Foreign Office returned his passport, his wallet and there was nothing else left after the blast. No funeral, but a memorial service, friends attending, her brother making a rare appearance.

Linda Birch April 2017 ©