Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about motherhood by Janina Monaghan.
Janina Monaghan lives in Nottingham with her family, but her roots are firmly dug into the great county of Yorkshire where the city of York was her home for eighteen years. Through her work on global events and communications projects, Janina’s passion for people and places has grown and is reflected in her writing. It is, however, in her role as ‘mum’ that Janina has gathered the most inspiration; this has shaped her blogs, poems, short stories and − more recently − works of fiction used to help brands emotionally connect with their consumers.
Janina enjoys reading as much as writing and has recently found affinity in works based on the Japanese culture; synchronicity with nature, self-awareness, and respect for one another are elements she now strives to weave through her own pieces.
‘The Summer of You’ follows a mother and daughter on their walk to school.
‘Hey! You’re not even waving!’ Annie’s voice had an air of authority, but with a wry undertone. She was wearing the biggest smile and waving frantically as we walked past the window of 1 Croft Road.
‘Oh, sorry!’ I was suddenly ripped from my mini mind-drift and gave a clumsy left-handed wave to the bush, having missed the opportunity to wave at the window, hoping that I had done enough to redeem myself. I watched my daughter’s black lace-up brogues match the stride of my fuchsia-pink mid-tops as we sauntered on, past the garden frontages.
‘She wasn’t there, anyway.’ Annie remarked.
‘Oh! Why did you tell me off for not waving then?’ I asked, feigning disbelief and upset.
“Because she might have been in her back chair which means she can see you but you can’t see her.’
Insightful. Deft detective work. Perhaps a calling to The Met?
‘So,’ she continued, ‘whether she is there or not, you still have to wave.’ Playful yet purposeful. Her delivery reminded me of a teacher who was always firm but fair.
I glanced over my shoulder, squinting in the sunlight, to see the next batch of people turning the corner: smiles fixed, heads locked to the left, hands waving. It was amazing how, despite no visible person in the window, people still waved because, as you descended the small slope of Croft Road and approached The Bungalow that’s just what you did. I tried to remember when it had begun. Did we see others doing it and follow suit or did we glance at the window, see the lady waving and simply wave back?