Laura also found courage
My eyes might be blind but I am not deaf or stupid, but my heart is sad as I think of our little boy, wrote Laura in her Braille diary.
“Settle yourself in, love, whilst I pop your bags and coat on the chair in James bedroom. I have moved things around just a little and just managed to squeeze a small wardrobe from an unused guest room in. Feel, right there in the corner and feel just here a chair next to it for your clothes and this diary of yours.
“ I can understand why your mum might be worrying!”
If only that statement made by her new landlady was true mused Laura as she was left to settle in. Reaching up, touching and surveying her new room in order to get the lay of the room, including where the two coarse mats lay beside a brass feeling bed with a horsehair mattress and crisp, clean smelling cold sheets and bolster hard pillows, then reaching out slowly to the pull for the thin blinds at the damp cold feeling window. Later still, after a few cups of weak sweet tea, how many turns to the bathroom, accessed from the landing where inside was a long narrow bath that took up it seemed most of one wall and the bath, rough and nobly, with a lavatory raised on a stone at the end, which she tripped up and down until she got used to it. There then followed a loud meow as she stepped on the tail of a cat; that had been lying beside the open window letting in the sound of London city traffic. Of course she was scared wondering if she had done the right thing. Not a moment went by without her yearning for her little boy Michael, now miles away, but somehow she believed that there would be a way out if she didn’t lose heart and listened to James.
“I have to face facts,” whispered Laura weeks later as she strolled hand in hand with James in the dark round the streets of London near their boarding house. They took a stroll most nights after he had finished work. “Mum and dad won’t change their minds about how we can take care of our little one and I hate them so for that!”
“Well,” said James, as his white stick tapped out into the now darkening street. “They can’t stop us marrying now, can they? Or we being together as we are and you are still in one piece after a month, apart from a few bruises when that chump Bert from three rooms down left his work things in the hall way like that!” Laura squeezed his arm.
“The man didn’t think did he? Anyway, I am fine now, and it’s been so kind of your landlady to put me up like this. I don’t know how she has found the time with all those other boarders to feed and rooms to be cleaned, but the hours she has set aside to guide me round the closest streets has been great.”
“I know,” said James, as he dropped a letter he had typed to his folks, back home in Coventry, into the letter-box three streets and five hundred steps away from their digs. “She was just the same with me when I arrived here from Coventry last year with my case. Do you know it was her that helped me to get my telephonist job at Balham Hospital? A nephew of hers works there as a porter, I think she said.”
That following Saturday, James played his accordion down at The Prince of Wales and Laura sat in the snug with a drink. She knew that whatever she might say or do, she would get nowhere, for her father would argue with an echo and that she might as well talk to a stone or the wall. She knew that there was as much chance of his softening his heart as there was of plaiting fog but still she wished things could be different, and would forever be wondering what other action she might take to make things right and have them be simply a little family together, with their estranged son in their own private world instead of miles away in another county she had once loved.