Ship by Kevin Murphy

Acrotiri, Cyprus, August 1976.

Captain Manders had tucked up five year old Janine after his wife had read her story.

Jackie now stood biting her thumb watching her husband carrying out his nightly routine of fine-tuning his tiny moustache, before leaving her for the Officers’ Mess.

He felt her presence and gave her a glance. He finished the right side with a flourish and turned to her, seemingly for approval.

The look on her face was far from that.

‘What is it?’

She looked at him, now biting her cheek.

He raised an eyebrow.

Looking down at her ragged thumbnail she blinked away a tear. ‘I forget what you want me out here for?’ Knowing she was lying, she thought of England.

He lowered his chin and attempting a sweet look…

‘Don’t give me your “Oh Darling”.’ She took a deep breath. ‘You gave me bonnie Charlie, now at Radley – only fourteen, but away from me for half his life now; Elizabeth at Cheltenham Ladies and only eight. Come September you’ll be shipping Janine off too.’ She sobbed.

Sucking his teeth Manders looked down at her. He noticed the scissors in his hand. He offered them to her.

Jackie took them.

Manders clicked his heels, turned and marched out of the door.

Jackie considered the scissors for a moment before stabbing them into the china sink.

She froze momentarily before bringing the twisted blades up before her eyes. Catching her reflection in the mirror, she carefully placed them onto the glass shelf, pouted, winked and walked out.

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