Sandi and the vicar

I’m sharing the second part of an excerpt from my book, ‘Loving Judah’; the tragic death of Aislin’s step-son Judah has almost broken her marriage with his father Peter. Aislin’s friend Sandi comes to stat and everything begins to improve. However Peter and Aislin have been renovating their new house, and in a frenzy of grief Peter ripped up all the floorboards, tore the doors off their hinges, and pulled the radiators from the walls. They’re living in a virtual ruin, unheated, no electricity, no hot water. The local vicar comes to call and Sandi invites herself and Aislin to the vicarage to use his shower and bathroom: The two women go to the vicarage and standing under the stream of hot water, Aislin realises how desperate she is for her life to return to some sort of normal.

Sandi and the vicar were in the sitting room, she was standing in front of the fire as if she was still cold, he on the settee, looking up at her. I know that look, thought Aislin, depressed.
“So, that’s how I ended up in Australia,” Sandi was saying. She sipped at a drink. “Oh there you are, Ashy!”
“Oh, it feels so good to be warm and clean, thanks so much, Gideon” she said, heartfelt. “It’s really brought it home to me what squalor we’ve been living in!”
“You’ve been through a tough time,” he said standing up in one graceful, easy move. “Drink? Gin and tonic?”
“We’re going out for something to eat, Gideon, do you fancy coming?” Sandi was looking at him in that certain familiar way. “My treat to say thanks for the shower,” but before Gideon could answer his doorbell rang.
“You’re not serious, are you?” asked Aislin with a laugh as he went to answer it.
“I’m sure he has plenty of women without having to rely on an old granny like me, but it’s fun to try!” and they laughed; with Sandi there was so much fun, so much laughter.
Aislin shivered at the thought of returning to her cold dark house and to Peter lying gloomily in bed…. Of returning to reality, the reality that Judah was gone, and she would never see him, never hold him… Her life would be diminished without the boy.
Gideon bounded into the room, an expression of regret and irritation on his face.
“It’s one of my parishioners,” he said. “I’m sorry, I’m going to have to turn you down.”
They thanked him and gathered their things. He brushed aside their thanks, still amused at the whole episode, a nice man, thought Aislin.
“You know where I live,” he said. Aislin thought he was talking to Sandi but he was addressing her “If you need to talk, Aislin, or if you need another shower, give me a ring, I mean it, if you or Peter need me, day or night – and I know the nights are hard.”
Feeling the emotion welling she hastily said goodbye and stepped into the night and hurried to the car. She thought Sandi was behind her, but as she unlocked it, her friend was still on the doorstep of the vicarage. Ten minutes later when Sandi jumped in beside her, she didn’t disclose what she’d been saying to Gideon and Aislin didn’t ask.

© Lois Elsden 2018

If you want to read’Loving Judah’, here is a link:


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