فصل 05

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فصل 05

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Chapter five

The decision

Fanella wheeled her bike through the dark market square. It was decorated for Christmas and in the centre there was a large Christmas tree with lights.

Fanella’s bicycle basket was full of presents. She would send some of them to her mother and father, who lived in the south of England, and some to her friends. She had decided to stay in Cambridge for the Christmas holiday. Although she would be alone in her house, she could mend the kitchen tap and the washing machine. She also wanted to buy some curtains for the second bedroom, just in case…

It was strange to think that this time last year she and Steven had planned Christmas together.

‘It’ll be such fun next year,’ Steven had said, ‘when we have our own child to share Christmas with!’ And Fanella had agreed.

She couldn’t help feeling sorry for herself now, as she thought how different the reality was. Here she was, a year older, not only still childless, but single as well. She had heard nothing definite from the adoption agency for weeks, although she had had several more visits from social workers and had attended some workshops. She was beginning to feel that everything was against her.

If they only understood how painful it was, not knowing whether you were ever going to be given a child to adopt. It had been so long since she had heard anything, that she had forced herself to stop thinking about it, at least until the New Year.

She opened the door, went into her sitting room and dropped the pile of presents on the floor. The house always felt so cold and unfriendly when she had been out all day. She rushed about closing curtains and turning on lamps. She put the heating on and plugged in the kettle. Then she noticed that the light on her answerphone was blinking at her.

Collapsing onto a cushion by the phone, she pressed the red button on the machine and sat back to listen to her messages.

‘Hi Fanella. It’s Teresa. I wondered if you’d like to come to Timothy’s Christmas play with me at his school next week. Speak to you later!’

There was another message.

‘Hello, this is the adoption agency. We’ve got some news for you. Please could you call us back as soon as possible.’

Fanella looked at the clock. It was six o’clock. She might be in time to talk to someone at the agency. But she was afraid of what they might say. She decided to call Teresa back first.

‘I’d love to come to Timothy’s play,’ she told her friend. ‘I can take the afternoon off work - everything’s slowing down for Christmas now, anyway.’

‘Oh good,’ said Teresa. ‘Timothy will be happy! He asked if you’d be there. He’s a bit disappointed that he’s not going to say anything. But if you’re there to clap him, it will all be worthwhile.’

Fanella laughed.

Teresa continued: ‘Yes, I think Rod felt he had to give the speaking parts to children who don’t usually succeed at school. Rod’s been having some trouble from one parent. She’s accusing him of preferring the children who work hard and do well. It’s all just gossip of course, poor man.’

‘Well,’ said Fanella, ‘I suppose it’s fair that less able children get a chance.’

‘Oh yes,’ said Teresa, sounding a little annoyed. ‘Of course, but it shouldn’t make the other children feel bad.’

‘It must be very difficult to get the right balance,’ said Fanella. She didn’t want to argue with her friend, but she thought Rod was right to offer the speaking parts to children who didn’t succeed in other subjects. She loved Timothy very much, but he was definitely a child who had lots of opportunities at home. All this helped him do well at school. He was always top of the class! It was good for him to learn, occasionally, to take a back seat and let children with fewer advantages do well.

‘Anyway,’ she added, ‘we’ll sit and cheer and clap when we see him, so he’ll know that he’s the best actor we’ve ever seen on stage!’

Teresa laughed. ‘How are you anyway?’ she asked.

‘OK,’ said Fanella slowly. ‘Actually, I think the adoption agency may have some news for me. There was a message, but I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I can’t bear to think about it. I’ve got to phone them back, but I’m too nervous!’

‘Oh Fanella, I’m sure it’ll be good news. It’s so exciting! You must tell me as soon as you know!’

Fanella felt warmed by her friend’s genuinely enthusiastic response, and a little guilty that she had been annoyed by her earlier in the conversation.

‘Thanks, Teresa. I hope I’ll have some news by the time I see you at the play.’

‘I’ll look forward to it. See you then!’

‘See you,’ said Fanella and put the phone down.

Now there was no escaping the other phone call. Her heart was jumping as she dialled the number that had been left for her.

A few days later Fanella arrived at Timothy’s school. The school hall was full of parents and young children. A large, brightly decorated Christmas tree stood in one corner. Fanella looked across the rows of heads for Teresa and saw her near the front of the hall.

‘Just like Teresa to make sure she’s got the best view!’ Fanella thought.

As she squeezed past the other seats towards Teresa, she realised her friend was talking busily with someone. She reached Teresa’s row and realised the person she was talking to was Rod! Fanella suddenly felt shy. It was months since their lunch in the pub together and she had put him completely out of her mind. But seeing him again, she couldn’t help the same feeling of excitement she had experienced the first time she saw him.

Teresa looked up as Fanella arrived and put her arm round her friend. ‘Here she is!’ she said. So, Fanella had been the subject of their conversation!

‘Hi!’ said Rod, smiling warmly at Fanella. ‘I must go. I’ve got to make sure everything is OK backstage! Good luck!’ And he disappeared.

Fanella suddenly felt suspicious. ‘Why did he say “good luck”?’ she asked Teresa, sitting down in a seat beside her.

Teresa looked embarrassed. ‘I hope you don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I was telling him about your attempts at adoption. I’ve been so excited, I had to talk to someone about it! Now you must tell me… what’s the news?’

Fanella was silent for a moment. She felt surprised that Teresa had been talking to Rod about her. At that moment, Teresa squeezed her arm.

‘Hey!’ she whispered, leaning towards Fanella. ‘Look, that’s Rod’s wife!’

A tall blonde woman was walking down the side of the hall towards the stage. She stood out among all the other adults there. She was tall, slim and incredibly well-dressed. It was clear she didn’t have children to look after and was used to more exciting things than a primary school Christmas play.

Fanella watched, interested, as the woman approached Rod. He leant towards her and kissed her on the cheek. Then they disappeared together behind the curtains by the stage. It was pointless worrying what Rod thought about her, Fanella realised, and pointless being angry with Teresa, who only wanted the best for her.

Fanella looked at Teresa. ‘They’ve approved me for adoption,’ she said, unable to hide a broad smile. ‘And they say they’ve got a suitable child for me to visit after Christmas!’

‘Fantastic!’ said Teresa, clapping her hands together. ‘I knew you could do it! Tell me more. Is it a baby? Boy or girl? What happens next?’

‘Well,’ said Fanella, not wanting to sound too excited, ‘she’s a five-year-old girl. People are looking after her at the moment and obviously it’s better for her to stay there, where things are familiar, over Christmas. But the people she is with don’t want to adopt her permanently. They find her… difficult, but the social services recommended me, because they thought I’d be able to look after her!’

‘Difficult?’ said Teresa, sounding a little concerned. ‘In what way?’

‘Well, she won’t settle into school. She’s been known to run away once or twice, and she’s a bit difficult at home,’ said Fanella. She didn’t want to sound too negative about the child. ‘But they feel she needs a lot of one-to-one attention. The family who are looking after her have three children of their own. She’s found living with them difficult.’

Teresa sighed. ‘I hope you aren’t going to find it too hard,’ she said.

‘Well, nothing’s definite yet,’ said Fanella. ‘I’ve got to meet and like the child first, and she’s got to like me. I just feel pleased the agency believe I can do it.’

‘Of course,’ said Teresa, patting Fanella’s arm affectionately, as the lights went off and the stage curtains opened showing ten little children. The child in the middle lifted his hand and waved. It was Timothy! Fanella and Teresa waved back as the music started.

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