English Creative Writing Club: Term 2 Winner
This term we invited members of the Creative Writing Club to write a story based on the theme ‘Winter Nostalgia’. The challenge was to write a story in 1000 words or less. We had many brilliant entries but have picked Alice T’s piece as the winner for this term. We hope everyone has a lovely Winter Holiday!
The care home was cosy. The walls were a pale shade of yellow with vibrant paintings dotted around the building. Tinsel hung over the fireplace. In the centre of the room there was a tree decorated with colourful baubles and gorgeous glass ornaments that shone like diamonds. Underneath the tree was perfectly wrapped presents tied with silver bows. Plush armchairs were arranged in little circles around tables. And sitting in those were people. Young and old, chatting and laughing, celebrating the holidays.
Sitting in one of these chairs was a woman. Her grey hair was tied in a neat bun and she was wearing a dusty pink cardigan with a silver brooch pinned to it. Her skin was like paper with deep creases worked into her face. Her eyes were a warm brown. But her gaze was far off. Distant. As if she was unaware of the world around her.
Across from her was a young man with her face and flaming hair. Her tired face pulled into a smile when she laid eyes on him.
“John,” she greeted, “how’s school?”
John’s eyes looked pained as he answered, “schools great auntie Ellie.”
Eleanor’s gaze shifted to the tree in the middle of the room.
“You know, this reminds me of when I was a little girl.”
John’s eyes widened in surprise as he leaned in.
“It was the first Christmas after the war. Daddy was home again and the presents were all underneath the tree. And,and…” her eyes clouded in confusion, “Sorry what was I talking about?”
John leaned back into his chair with a soft sigh as Eleanor stared off into space. After a few seconds of silence, her eyes focused back on him and her face morphed into a smile.
“Oh hello there John! How’s school?”
“Schools great auntie Ellie.”
It was much later in the day when a young girl came to sit opposite Eleanor. She couldnt’ve been older than seven. She had sandy blonde hair and bright blue eyes that matched her frilly blue dress.
“Hi Granny!” She chirped
Eleanor looked down at the girl with a puzzled expression on her face.
“Dear, I think you have the wrong person.”
The girl looked up at her. Eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
“No. You’re my granny!”
Eleanor gazed at the girl with pity.
“Ok then sweetie, I’m your granny.”
A glimpse of recognition flickered in her eyes.
“You remind me of a boy I used to know.”
“Really?” The girl asked
“Yes, he was such a kind lad. Always smiling. We were neighbours and his family would come round ours every Christmas. His name was…” she let out a frustrated sigh, “oh what was his name! Bobby? Tommy? Georgie?”
She took a breath as if she was about to say something else. But suddenly, her eyes glazed over and her face went slack. She sat there for a few seconds, frozen. Then suddenly, she snapped out of it. Her eyes cleared and her mouth pulled into a soft smile. She looked down at the girl in front of her without a hint of recognition in her eyes.
“Hello dear, what’s your name?”
The sun was setting, painting the pale yellow walls a warm shade of orange. Shadows danced across the room. There was only a slight murmur of voices that could barely be heard over the Christmas songs that played on the radio. Carers bustled around, handing out cups of pills, scribbling notes on clipboards and smiling gently at the residents.
Eleanor sat in the corner of the room nursing a cup of tea, her eyes vacant. She took a sip of her tea and leaned back in her chair, closing her eyes. After a couple of minutes someone tapped her on the shoulder. Her eyes slowly opened as she turned to look at the young woman behind her. The woman was wearing standard scrubs and had long auburn hair that was tied into a neat ponytail. Looking over the woman’s shoulder was an old man. He had greying brown hair and icy blue eyes that studied her coldly. He had deep frown lines etched into his face and his skin was deathly pale.
“Eleanor,” the woman said softly, “This is Robert. He’s new here.”
Robert gave her a curt nod and sat down opposite her. A little while later, the carer left them alone. She shifted nervously as his eyes bore into her very soul.
“Where are you from?” He asked. His voice icy and brittle.
“Hadlow.” she replied, voice wavering in uncertainty.
“Are you sure about that?” He asked.
“Yes, I’m quite sure about that.” she replied harshly.
He paused for a moment. Staring at her curiously.
His voice softened ever so slightly as he said “I grew up there as well.”
She looked at him with curiosity, “you did?”
“Yes, I did.”
Her eyes sparked with a slither of recognition.
“You remind me of someone I used to know.”
His eyes widened slightly “I do?”
“Yes, you have his eyes. I think his name was…”
“Robbie. You called me Robbie.”
And just like that, everything clicked. Her eyes were sharp and clear. In a flash, her memories came flooding back.
Eleanor jumped onto her parents’ bed
“Mummy, Daddy wake up it’s Christmas.” She cheered.
“Alright, alright.” Her father groaned.
Eleanor dashed downstairs and bounded up to the Christmas tree, ripping open the messily wrapped presents. A roughly carved wooden horse, A big bar of chocolate and a doll with black hair and a blue dress that closed its eyes when it was layed down.
Just then the doorbell rang. She ran to answer it.
They ran into the streets, toys in hand. Showing off their presents to the other children. Eventually, they all had to go back home. Wishing each other a merry Christmas, they walked back to their houses with a smile on their faces.
“It’s good to see you, Robbie.”
His eyes melted. “You too, Ellie.”