- زمان مطالعه 10 دقیقه
- سطح متوسط
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
The brown envelope
Things were going badly for Rod. It was another month until the court hearing and, in the meantime, he had been interviewed by various people trying to establish the facts. His lawyer believed they could win the case, but there was no doubt the whole business would damage his reputation.
He didn’t enjoy being at home every day either, and Leah obviously wanted the house back to herself.
‘Can’t you apply for another job?’ she asked him one morning, finding him in his dressing gown in the kitchen at ten o’clock in the morning. She was dressed up to go out to an appointment and smelt of that lovely perfume again, but this time Rod had no desire to comment.
‘I don’t want another job,’ he said. ‘I want my old job.’
‘I don’t understand it,’ said Leah. ‘It was stressful, you’ve been treated so badly and, anyway, working with kids is my idea of hell!’
‘Well, we’re different in that way!’ said Rod. ‘I loved some of those children. I really felt I could make a difference to their lives.’
‘Don’t get emotional,’ said Leah.
‘Perhaps if we had a child of our own, you’d understand a bit better,’ said Rod.
This had become the cause of many arguments between them lately. Being at home every day had made Rod think about what it would be like to have their own child. A lot of men stayed at home to bring up children these days, and it was something he thought he would enjoy. But Leah didn’t want children. This hadn’t worried Rod before, but now, as he approached forty, he realised how much he wanted his own child. He couldn’t understand how Leah could be so sure she didn’t want them.
Once she had left for her meeting, Rod went upstairs to get dressed. Then he noticed a heap of papers in the corner of the bedroom. He bent down to pick them up and realised they were the children’s stories he had tried to write. He’d been so busy over the last few months, he had completely forgotten about them!
He sat on the bed reading through them, and thought they were not too bad. Then he remembered that he had asked Fanella if she would look at them. Suddenly he felt better. He would spend the day going through the stories, making corrections and improving them. It would give him a focus to his day.
He got dressed quickly and went downstairs to sit at the kitchen table. He worked eagerly all day, until he heard Leah’s key in the lock at seven o’clock.
‘Ooh, what’s this?’ she said, leaning over his shoulder and looking at the story which lay on the top of the pile. ‘Children’s stories! Haven’t you had enough of children? Have you made any supper?’
‘I’ve been too busy, I’m afraid,’ said Rod.
‘Busy! You’ve nothing to do all day!’ she said crossly. ‘I’ve come in tired and stressed, hoping my supper would be ready!’
Rod sighed. He realised he could have made supper, but he had been too involved in his stories to give it any thought. Leah always seemed annoyed with him these days, whatever he did.
‘I’ll go out and get a takeaway,’ he said, trying to please her. He put his arms around her and kissed her. She smelt as lovely as ever, but she moved away from him quickly.
‘Yes, OK. I fancy something Indian,’ she said. ‘Can you get a curry?’
‘Anything for you!’ said Rod, and to his relief she smiled, briefly.
Over the next few days, Rod worked enthusiastically on his stories. He had not realised how much time it would take to get them into shape. At last he felt they were good enough to be read by someone else. He wished he’d had the chance to try them out on his class before he posted them. Instead, he had to imagine the children in his class and their reactions to the stories. This helped quite a bit, and he couldn’t help believing there was some potential in them.
If nothing else, it had taken his mind off the subject of Dan and his mother and given a purpose to his day. When he finally posted the stories, he felt a huge sense of achievement: even if no-one else liked them, he’d done it!
Meanwhile, Fanella was struggling with the problem of what to do with Ellie. She had found the best method of dealing with her not wanting to go to school was to drop her off in the morning and leave straight away. If she hung around for long, Ellie would hold onto her, making the whole thing worse. The possibility that the legalisation of the adoption would not be finalised, if it was seen that Ellie wasn’t happy, was always at the back of her mind. Yet, despite the heartache Ellie gave her, Fanella had grown to love her dearly, and she couldn’t bear the thought of not having her in her life permanently.
Quite often, in the mornings, Ellie would crawl into bed beside Fanella and together they would read or listen to the radio until it was time to get up. And at the weekends they had a great time together. It was only school that threw a shadow over their life together.
To stop herself from worrying, Fanella concentrated on her work. She felt a sense of relief as she left the school for the more peaceful atmosphere of the office. Then she worked hard until it was time to go and pick Ellie up from the club she attended after school.
One morning, as she arrived at the office, she was surprised to find a large brown envelope sitting on her desk. ‘For the Personal Attention of Fanella Browning’ was written in capital letters across the top.
It took her a little while to realise who the bundle of stories was from. She had completely forgotten about her conversation with Rod in the pub garden last September, when he’d told her that he’d written some stories for children. It felt strange to have them here in front of her, when she hadn’t seen him for so long and knowing what he’d been accused of. But she was pleased he’d sent them.
Looking through them, she was impressed. Rod clearly had an understanding of what interested children; his language was appropriate and the stories had an originality which would make them sell. She was quite excited to have them, although she knew there were a number of stages to go through before she could offer him a contract. She would have to take them to an editorial meeting, then to a sales meeting, and get approval from both of these. But in the meantime, there were a few changes she would like him to make. She would have to arrange a meeting with him, too!
His phone number was at the top of the letter and later that day she dialled it. Her heart beat loudly as she waited for his reply, and she realised she was shaking as he picked up the phone. This was ridiculous! She was simply performing a professional task.
‘It’s Fanella,’ she said, not sure whether she should use her surname too, to give a more professional feel to the phone call. But it seemed silly to be too formal when she had seen him every morning a few weeks ago at school.
‘Hi!’ he said, sounding a little shy himself.
‘I received your stories,’ went on Fanella, feeling more confident now. ‘I liked them very much,’ she said. ‘But there are a few changes we’ll need to discuss before I can offer you a contract.’
‘Oh, that’s great!’ said Rod. He hadn’t expected such a quick reply to his letter, and he certainly hadn’t been at all confident about his stories being well received. Of course, it helped that he’d met Fanella, and he hoped she wasn’t just being kind to him because he’d taught her child. He realised she’d probably heard about the accusation that he’d hit Dan and he wondered what she thought about it.
‘Can you come to the office for lunch… or… come to think of it, we could meet somewhere more convenient, a restaurant or something?’ said Fanella. It felt strange, as if she was asking him out on a date.
‘I’m new to this,’ said Rod. ‘You decide.’
‘Shall we meet next Tuesday at Brown’s?’ asked Fanella.
She liked Brown’s. It was always busy, but the food was good and the tables big enough to work at.
‘OK,’ said Rod. ‘That sounds fine. What time?’
‘Let’s say…’ Fanella did a quick mental calculation in her head. If she made it too late, they would not have much time together before she had to pick Ellie up from school. ‘Shall we say twelve-thirty?’
‘Great!’ said Rod. ‘I’ll see you then!’
‘Wow!’ thought Fanella. ‘Lunch with Rod!’
The fact that it was a professional meeting did nothing to stop her excitement at the thought of seeing him again for the first time in weeks.
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