I have joined in with The Prompt a couple of times now. The challenge is to write something prompted by an idea, or a thought. This week The Prompt is The Mistakes We Make. A bit too much of a challenge for me to write this drawing on my own personal mistakes, so… for the first time, in a long time, I have indulged in a little fictional writing. I hope you enjoy it!
The Mistakes We Make
Caroline’s feet felt as heavy as her heart as she made her way down the garden path. It was at least twenty years since she had last been here. Caroline was not even sure if her old school teacher still resided in the chocolate box cottage. She was frozen by the autumnal chill but never thought to bring a coat. Caroline had left in a hurry, without even saying goodbye to her family. She thought she saw a light through the seam of the heavy living room curtains – just a flicker… there was hope perhaps?
As she raised her hand to lift the cast iron knocker, the door started to open, and there stood an old lady. The experience of age etched her face in the form of deep set wrinkles, and as Caroline observed her frail body she wondered if she had made yet another mistake!
‘Mrs Patterson? I’m sure you probably don’t remember me…’, Caroline started to falter.
‘Caroline! My dear girl!’ Mrs Patterson’s face creased further as a warm smile developed. ‘Come in, come in, you must be absolutely frozen! Let me make you a cup of tea and get you warmed up!’
A few niceties were exchanged and tea was served, in a teapot with china cups and stale digestive biscuits. Mrs Patterson leaned over and placed her hand on Caroline’s. ‘I am delighted to see you Caroline, I hoped you would visit me again some day. Yet, I can see there is something troubling you, so please, tell me, why have you come?’
Caroline drew a deep breath, and fought the urge to cry. ‘I didn’t know where else to go! You always told me I could achieve anything, and I believed you!’ Caroline’s voice started to break. ‘I have made such a mess of everything! I have made so many mistakes I can’t bear to go home! I don’t want to see the disappointment in my husbands eyes. I can’t bear for my children to know I have let everyone down! I can hardly look at myself in the mirror! I don’t know what to do!’ By now the tears were flowing freely down Caroline’s ashen face, yet she made no move to wipe them away.
‘Dear child,’ Mrs Patterson began, even though Caroline was nearly forty. ‘You mustn’t think like that. We all make mistakes in life, and from what you have said about your family, you have a lot to be grateful for too! You shouldn’t consider mistakes wholly as negatives, but as a way of learning too. Learning what makes you happy, and what makes you sad. We cannot predict the future, yet we must make choices, every day. Some choices will have little effect and some will be momentous. Those which make you sad, well, those ones we call mistakes. And then you know, it’s time to change your choice.’
Caroline looked up with her now bloodshot brown eyes. ‘It’s not that simple, I can’t just change everything that I have done!’.
‘No, you can’t change the past.’ Mrs Patterson agreed. ‘But you can make your apologies to those you have hurt and you can forgive yourself. You can choose to do those things differently in the future. Use what you have learned Caroline. Use the knowledge of what makes you sad, to change your path. Now you have figured out what you don’t want, finding what you do will be so much easier! The path of the past is already laid. Build your future with wisdom, lessons learnt, hopes and dreams. You might be pleasantly surprised at what tomorrow brings.’
Caroline reached for her now cold tea and started to believe that maybe she could put her mistakes behind her.