From the cafe area in baker’s shop customers could look out across the village green. On the far side, the church steeple, like a sharp pencil, poked through the undulating foliage of the trees that edged the grave yard.
Gillian Smithers, sat in the cafe, was admiring this view, contemplating her good fortune to live in such a locale, when she spotted Jennifer Carson striding across the newly cut grass.
“It’s that girl Carson,” she said in a voice embroidered with disapproval.
“Where?” Said her companion, turning in her seat.
“Coming this way.” She said, placing her cup on the saucer with an angry clatter..
The baker look across the glass fronted counter at this apparent vandalism of his crockery, then at Jenny as the jangling door bell serenaded her arrival.
“Hello Miriam, Mrs Smithers, isn’t it a lovely day! Summer sun and the smell of freshly baked bread!”
“A wonderful combination indeed.” Said Miriam smiling.
Gillian, feigning scrutiny of the menu, merely nodded her head. Then, when she felt Jenny was out of earshot, leaned sharply forward, as though she was going to bite into into one of the pastel coloured confections on the top tier of the cake stand.
“I wouldn’t be so friendly Miriam. We really don’t want her sort in the village.” Said Gillian in a whisper that verged on a hiss.
“Why on earth not?” Asked Miriam, although she knew why.
“She’s moved in with the daughter of Gerrard the postman.”
“Yes, I know,” said Miriam reasonably, “they’re married, and she’s expecting a baby in July.”
During the pregnant pause that followed this revelation they heard Jenny complete her purchase.
“Ruth and I will be at the refugee fund meeting tomorrow night, I’ll see you there, Miriam.”
Said Jenny as she passed their silent table on her way out.
“Really, what is the World coming to.” Said Gillian as the door closed. “married indeed! And a baby too!”
Gillian Smithers considered herself a model Christian and had a very firm concept of heaven and hell. As proof of her pious credentials she had a fine framed print of a painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch, hung on the wall in her hallway, like a diploma conferred by a professional body. On a visit to Gillian’s home Miriam had seen the print and, not wishing to fall out with her host, had, at the time, expressed sophistical admiration of the grotesque picture.
Miriam looked across the table at Gillian and thought that perhaps she would cool this particular friendship, and simply said “But Gillian, didn’t Jesus tell us to love one another?”
Our writing group had to write a piece around the idea of “the elephant in the room”. A situation which inhibits conversation. The story involves the interaction between two people, each with their own interpretation of a religion, faced with a challenging situation.