Before the renovation, Brighton UK, 2009

Before the renovation, Brighton UK, 2009

Writing Prompt No. 100

Lynda picked at the bare wall with her fingernail.

She’d spent hours steaming and stripping away the wallpaper. Small lumps of wet paper left behind had dried and hardened on the wall over night. Lynda exhaled a deep sigh.

“Mum never liked wallpaper at the best of times,” she said.

“It’s a shame she’ll never see the change.” Lynda’s brother Tom came in balancing two steaming mugs of hot tea on a tray. “Here,” he said. “Let’s have a cup of tea before we start.”

Lynda picked up the nearest mug. “Thanks,” she said.

“Sugar?” he said offering her a teaspoon and a half full bag of granulated.

Lynda shook her head. “No. Thanks,” she said. “Not in tea.”

They sat side by side in the silence cradling the mugs in their hands and sipping the hot tea with great care.

“Do you think she knew?” said Lynda.

“What d’you mean?”

“Do you think she knew Dad was seeing someone? A man.”

“Who knows,” Tom shrugged as he spoke. “He didn’t come to the funeral.”

“He said he had to take the dog to the vet,” said Lynda.

“What dog?”

“His dog. He has a dog.”

“He does?” Tom raised his eyebrows with surprise. “He always said he hated dogs.”

“He always said he loved Mum.”

“I think he did though.”


“Love Mum.” Tom said setting his empty mug down on the tray. “Shall we start then? Sand this wall down. I’ve chosen Powdered Sky for the walls.”

“Powdered Sky?”

“It’s a grey smoky blue. Too much choice so I closed my eyes and pointed.”

“Thank God you didn’t point at orange.” Lynda managed a small smile. “Come on then. Let’s get on with it.”

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