Chapter 10

Written by: Linda Alley

“Mike,” Phil barks into the phone as soon as his brother picks up. “Mum’s lawyer - does he have a partner who practises family law?”

“I don’t think this is really the time…”

“It’s the only time,” Phil interrupts and tells him about Mary’s revelation as he paces the hospital corridors.

“Impossible! How could she have been seeing Fraser for that long? You would have known, wouldn’t you?”

Even my own brother thinks I’m a loser. Phil sinks down onto a plastic chair with a heavy sigh.

“Remember what Mum used to say when we were kids,” Mike says.

Despite himself, Phil smiles and repeats the mantra.

“Life is like a Christmas pudding. Sometimes you get pounds, other times you break your tooth on a penny.”

Wonderful, effervescent Mum had allegedly invented the proverb on Christmas Day 1942 when she received a telegram informing her that her fiancé had lost both his legs in the War. It hadn’t stopped her marrying him, nor having his four children of whom Phil was the youngest.

He couldn’t let her down.

“Stay with Harry. I’ll do what I can,” Mike promises.

As Phil walks back through the waiting room, a man stands up. A fleshy square chin contrasts with bulging arm muscles that threaten to burst their seams. He is so close that Phil can smell his sweaty singlet.

“Fraser?” Mary is standing in the doorway.

In another universe, Phil kicks Fraser in the groin and flees the hospital with his son. In this universe, he ignores both of them, keeps walking and sinks onto Harry’s bed.

He caresses the boy’s hair, his nose, his cleft chin. Phil remembers the day Harry came home in tears because Sybil had called him ‘bum chin’. Phil hadn’t known what to say. Both he and Mary had smooth, round chins. However, Phil’s mum, had crouched down until she was level with the four-year old.

“Don’t you know? Us folk with bum chins have special powers. We can fart out of the back and the front. So, you tell Sybil to watch what she says!”

Phil’s face cracks into a grin as realization dawns.

“You are my kid,” he whispers.

The only response is a piercing beep from the life support machine. The lines on the screen writhe like electric eels.

“Nurse!” Phil screams.


But Harry doesn’t hear because he’s walking along the beach.


He turns around. Nanny! How did she get here? Didn’t Mummy and Daddy say she’d gone to Heaven?
But here she is, standing in the sea like a giant, smiley frog in her fluorescent green bathers.

He wades out and takes her hand. The sea’s nice and cool. And best of all it’s quiet. No yelling, no bad words. Only the sound of the sea breathing in and out. They keep walking. There’s a bright light ahead. The water’s up to his chin now, but he’s not afraid. It caresses his nose…his eyes…his hair. And then there is nothing. Nothing but light.


Dead grandma. Dead grandson. Good ending to a dramatic serial.
It started going in so many directions throughout the serial that it was certainly challenging to work out how to end it!
This is so clever. Writing from more than one perspective, keeping more than one storyline going, tying up all the loose ends and doing it all with style. Great piece of writing Linda. Loved it.
Linda, this is a fabulous ending to the serial which was full of ups and downs - in an emotional sense for the characters. It rounded off everything. I loved the way Phil found out Harry was his. That was very clever! Above all the chapter flowed so well!