Saving Missy by Beth Morrey / The Love Story of Missy Carmichael
English | 2020 | Fiction > General / Contemporary | ePUB | 3.4 MB
Prickly. Stubborn. Terribly lonely.
But everyone deserves a second chance…
A dazzling debut for 2020 – are you ready to meet Missy Carmichael?
Missy Carmichael’s life has become small.
Grieving for a family she has lost or lost touch with, she’s haunted by the echoes of her footsteps in her empty home; the sound of the radio in the dark; the tick-tick-tick of the watching clock.
Spiky and defensive, Missy knows that her loneliness is all her own fault. She deserves no more than this; not after what she’s done. But a chance encounter in the park with two very different women opens the door to something new.
Another life beckons for Missy, if only she can be brave enough to grasp the opportunity. But seventy-nine is too late for a second chance. Isn’t it?
‘They’re gonna electrocute the fish! Wanna watch?’
The park caretakers needed to move the fish from one lake to the other, which required them to be stunned. Electrofishing. I’d never seen or heard of such a thing, nor did it seem particularly interesting, but maybe if I could see ‘Oat’ again then the tightness I’d felt in my gullet since Ali and Arthur got on the plane might ease a little. It would be something to do, after all …
Since that afternoon a week ago, I’d changed my mind half a dozen times, dwelling on the decision as only the terminally bored and insecure can. In the end, I decided to go so that there would be something to tell Alistair about. My life had become so circumscribed I’d grown worried he might think me trivial, and I only read the papers (including the obituaries) so that I knew what he was talking about when he mentioned a politician’s gaffe, or asked which new plays were on in the West End. I could tell Ali was impressed when I went to the Turner exhibition, so the three buses in the rain were worth it.
Seeing some carp get electrocuted wasn’t quite the dazzling metropolitan excursion, but it was better than nothing. So there I was, off to see the fish-stunning in my best winter coat, already drafting the email I would write on my return. Perhaps I might bump into little Otis and feed the ducks with him and queue up with his mother for a coffee, and … I ran adrift at this point, and nearly turned back, but by then my legs were stiffening up in the cold, and the bench by the lakes was nearest.
A small group had gathered to watch. Someone was handing out croissants, and when one was offered I took it, not because I was hungry but just grateful to be noticed. I put it to my lips and remembered a time in Paris with Leo when we’d had pain au chocolat on the banks of the Seine and then went to a bookshop where he’d disappeared up a rickety staircase while I petted a cat curled on a battered sofa, picked shards of pastry out of my teeth and worried which hand I was using to do which. They smelt of chocolate and cat for the rest of the day because we couldn’t find anywhere to wash. My eyes filled with tears: Leo and I would never go to Paris again, even though it wasn’t a particularly pleasant memory as I found the city dirty and unfriendly, there were no green spaces, and despite Leo speaking fluent French, they used to curl their lips at him because he never sounded anything but English and as puffed up as their croissants.
I swayed and sank onto the bench, blinking and fighting the breathlessness, until a warm patrician voice said, ‘Oh my love, don’t look so horrified – they’re not Greggs or anything. I made them myself.’ A middle-aged woman with eyes like berries was smiling down at me, waving a napkin, so I made a show of nibbling the croissant and mumbling my thanks, cursing myself for being such a distracted old bat. She carried on moving through the crowd, handing out her pastries and pleasantries, then everyone surged forwards, so I struggled to my feet again, to watch two men in waders and lurid jackets sailing across the pond in a curious-looking boat.