With nowhere else to go and time running out Jackie looked at the shop behind them and saw that it was one of the scores of local charity shops.
“Right you two, in here quickly. Remember, be good or there’ll be no ice cream.” Jackie grabbed each of her girls by the hand and strode quickly
into the shop. The elderly couple behind the counter were happy to help and after sharing a sympathetic and knowing look the elderly lady led them
through to the back of the shop.
Soon Josy was all smiles again and Jackie decided to make a purchase by way of gratitude. She needed some new reading material anyway. Apart from the
girls, the only other thing that was keeping her off the vodka was the ability sit up at night in bed and escape from everything for an hour by
opening a book.
“I need strawberry mummy.” Said Josy, “and pink doggy!”
“Yes sweetie, in a minute.” Jackie replied, “let’s choose a book each from the shelf over there first.” Jackie led the girls to the
bookshelves, but was disappointed to discover only an eclectic jumble of cookery and children’s books. She sighed, no new novel for her today. Then
one book spine caught her eye. It was old and battered with barely anything left of the gold embossed lettering on the side, but she felt flutters of
recognition in her stomach nevertheless. Her heart rose in her chest and as realisation dawned she gasped before snatching the book greedily off the
Surely not? She looked at it’s cover, it was old and brown and worn, but there it was, the title that she’d thought she could never forget.
‘Tales of The Fabulous Sisters.’ With trembling fingers she opened the book and saw the title repeated on the first page. The embossed letters
looked absolutely mint, pristine, new... golden. Jackie looked down at the footnote. The phrase came back to her before she had a chance to read it.
‘This tome remains in perpetuity the property and responsibility of The Fabulous Sisters, Jayne Fabuleux, May 2nd 1776’.
Memories of her mother holding the book swept through her mind. The Fabulous Sisters, she’d forgotten all about them. How could she have done that?
She looked at the title page again, and the lettering caught fire and disappeared in a tiny puff of smoke. The page was blank, but then in front of
her eyes more writing began to appear.
I am so glad you have finally found us. I had planned to give you this book such a long time ago. It was all so sudden sweetie, but I had to go, it
was my time. I’m so sorry I had to leave you on your own.
Jackie, You are a Fabulous Sister. You’ll always be a Fabulous Sister. No matter what life throws at you. No matter what any person or piece of
paper or system tells you your name is, you and your daughters and your daughters daughters will always be Fabulous Sisters. Never forget that.
The world began to swim, her legs momentarily weakened, but Jackie, looked up from the book and out through the shop window to the world beyond,
seeking a horizon or a landmark to steady herself with. She found it in the form of the town hall clock tower. So now, moments later and stable again
Jackie glanced at the girls who were still completely absorbed in choosing their books. Then she stole a glance around the shop. No one was looking at
her. Maybe the fire and smoke hadn’t happened at all. Maybe she was even more stressed than she realised. Maybe The Parent Police should come and
find her and take the girls away after all.
Jackie returned her gaze to the book but her eyes weren’t registering what was there. Her mind’s eye was racing through replays of times during
her childhood and teens when her mother had brought out the book. Whatever issue, problem, crisis, or decision that Jackie had gone to her mother for
help with, there had always been an answer in the book.
Together her mother and the book had taught Jackie to consider others in one’s own actions. They’d shown her that sometimes bad things, tragic
things, happen to good people. They’d made her realise that if she didn’t share her toys with others they wouldn’t want to share theirs with
her. They’d demonstrated why lying and theft was wrong. They’d given her the strength to deal with the bullies at school. They’d gently
explained good important reasons not to rush into adult physical relationships, but most of all they’d encouraged her to value herself for who she
was. Throughout her childhood there had been a limitless supply of stories and analogies for every malady, and for every situation. Jackie eventually
began to believe that her mother had been making them up all along and that the book was just a theatrical prop, an illusion. She shuddered, blinked
and returned to the moment, to where she was. Then the words burned and lit up again before disappearing in another tiny puff of smoke. More words
began to apear.
Keep this book with you and I and the Fabulous Sisters will never be far away. This book contains all that I am and all that we sisters are. Within
it’s pages you will find all that we know and all that we have learned. Within this book is the collective wisdom of all of your fabulous
grandmothers. I could never have raised such an amazing woman and wonderful mother without it’s help. Now it’s time for you to take responsibility
for it’s safekeeping.
I am so proud of you sweetie...
She could read no more, and as her vision faded to black as she crumbled into a chair that the man from behind the counter had deftly slid beneath
The sun was still shining by the time they eventually made it to the beach. The girls had been very quiet for a long time after she’d fainted.
However, with the ice creams eaten, the donkey rides ridden, the tide coming in and sand between their toes they were themselves once more.
Jackie retrieved the book from her bag and shouted to the girls to come and get their buckets and spades. After she had made sure they were settled
for the next few minutes she opened the book and turned to the first story. ‘Ice Creams, Donkeys and Sandcastles’. Beneath the title was a sketch
of a bright sunny day at the seaside with happy people, golden sands, donkeys and a very grand pier. In the centre of it all were two little girls
building castles with their proud adoring mother looking on. Jackie hadn’t cheated and skimmed through the story to the end, but she knew exactly
what the final six words were going to be. Then her attention turned to the torn papers that were bookmarking her place in the story. She unfolded
them and looked again at the 23 homes she’d circled in the property section of the local paper. In his wisdom Dave had made sure that if he was ever
taken out of the picture, in his absence Jackie never have to worry about money again.
edit on 26-2-2013 by merkins because: (no reason given)
edit on 26-2-2013 by merkins because: (no reason given)