Scratches of Hope

Aimee Wilkinson

Her back curved in a C with age, she bends over and scratches. Behind her, a queue of people line up and wait. I just want to go home, but the unstamped letter in my hand prevents me. The air in the Post Office is thick with sweat, stifled by the smell of stale deodorant. I watch as a wisp of grey hair falls from her bun and her brow furrows. She peers up at the sales clerk and orders four more. Total jackpot: six million.

The people in the queue shuffle their feet and sigh collectively.

Her hand trembles as she pays with a crisp ten pound note. She receives no change. Using a yellowed fingernail she scratches again, discarding each card on the floor in turn. One of these days she will win back all the sacrifices she gave throughout her life. She will win back her lost years and her forgotten home. But not today. The last card falls from her fingers and she moves on. Pocketing her hope with the remainder of her pension. Saved for a day much rainier that this one.

The queue shuffles forward and forgets her.

Aimee has recently had a short story published by the small publishing house ‘The Time Travel Opportunists’ and lives in Derby where she is currently working on her first novel.

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