The Plains

By Geniene Preston (suggested by Shelley Spies) – Part One

As she turned the corner, she saw him standing there, watching and waiting. He stood, silent, and without movement.  His eyes dark and unwaivering.

It had been a regular start to the morning.  Usual chaos in the household while the children got ready for school and university. 13 year old Katie, a young vibrant girl with curly brown hair and laughing eyes. 11 year old Josh who unlike his sister not only studious but serious and a shaved head. The eldest, Patrick, from a previous marriage was a brilliant student with a penchant for video. Every moment was recorded. Both at home and at school. Even leisure times were recorded.

Dad, Jeremy, a tall and not particularly good looking man but well built and with kind eyes, always distant and with a mind that is always on his work.  Even on holiday or days off, work always took precedence.  Janey finished cooking the pancakes and in between packing the sandwiches, she found time to scold Jeremy for once again not being able to attend the dance recital that Katie had directed as part of a school project.

“You always have time for work but never for the children” she scolded Jeremy as he swept up his briefcase and took his keys off the key holder. The car was parked in the driveway and within easy reach of the remote. The beeping sound of the remote reminded Janey that the battery on her car was giving trouble. She put it at the back of her mind while she raced to get ready to do the school and uni run.

The house was  normal three bedroom townhouse and the boys shared a room while Katie had her own room.  The kitchen faced the central gardens of the townhouse complex. The driveway and garage held one car and her old Nissan really needed upgrading. But that would have to wait until private school fees and uni fees were settled.

Katie and Josh walked to the garage while engrossed on their mobile phones, texting friends or playing some random game while Patrick used his mobile to record the cat who happened to be stalking a mouse in the garden. Janey’s mind was on her upcoming meeting with a prospective client.

Her small marketing company was growing slowly and would hopefully become a way for her to be independent.  Despite having an assistant, Janey was always busy. Sometimes too busy to see to the children, but Jeremy was always preoccupied so she couldn’t rely on him to assist or to attend special events.

After a few turns of the ignition, the car finally started and she reversed into the complex road before exiting at the boom gate and turning into the morning traffic.  The car was silent except for the radio where the morning show was in full swing. The morning guest was a Jewish Rabbi who had been visiting  foreign Arab country and now had written a series of articles.

It reminded her of how she met Jeremy and the fun days of working in a restaurant in Tel Aviv. She was a waitress and he was a manager, divorced with a young son.  She was spending a gap year before college in Israel and somehow one night ended up laughing and drinking on his couch.  It wasn’t long before she realised she was pregnant with Katie.  It was his decision to get married right away. It was the last time she remembered him doing something spontaneous.

She pulled up in front of the school and dropped off the two younger ones while Patrick would be dropped off at Uni.  She was drawn out of her thoughts by Patrick. “Mom can we pass the drive through for a coffee please” as they left the school. She made her way to the local McDonald’s and bought him and herself a take away coffee.  The smell of the coffee made her feel alive for the first time since she woke up.

Patrick video taped the exchange of cash and insisted on asking the server if she minded being recorded. She smiled and said it was fine.  Janey sighed and was pleased that the car didn’t splutter.  She dropped Patrick off with the promise to collect him on time, just for a change.  He made a face and turned to join friends walking into the building.

She made her way to the office. Parking on a slope so that a getaway was guaranteed even though the battery wasn’t working, she stopped for a moment to enjoy the sunshine and the coffee.  She discarded the takeaway cup and entered the building.  The office was small but was big enough for two desks with a small storeroom for marketing items used in activations.  “Morning Janey” greeted her assistant Emmy.  “Morning Emmy, how was your evening?”.  After exchanging information about their respective lives, they got stuck into the diary for the morning.

Soon it was time for her meeting. A new client who wanted them to do some beach activations and sounded guarded but keen to meet them for some new ideas.  They agreed to meet at the Mugg and Bean in the nearby mall.  She got into the car and it wouldn’t start. So it rolled down the hill until it jerked into life. She once again reminded herself to have the battery changed.

Just as she entered the parking garage, her mobile rang. It was the client. He asked if they could change the meeting place.  She hesitated, but only for a moment, reminding herself that he was a new client.  The meeting would now be at his office.  The office address was not in a good area of town. She was uncertain…

End of Part One


Geniene spent a year in the UK working and living in and around London. Starting as a waitress and working at events as well as a tea lady, events co ordinator and driver for a soft drink in the Midlands, she found out what its like to start again. For this and other stories, see published articles on Linked in or Facebook -

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