The Author and the Story
A friend laughed when I said my romantic heroine, Abigail, was eighty-six years old. But there are reasons I wanted her to be this age when the story begins. I’m in the distressing position of watching relatives struggle with ageing, and I know they have ‘back stories’—sometimes very colorful ones—behind their outward appearances. In COLOURS, I’ve tried to retrieve part of one woman’s tale. She may be a frail, forgetful, often frustrated ‘grey’ old lady, but she was something else in her twenties. In this story the intense romance of her youthful days lives again.
As well as being a romance COLOURS is also a tragedy as it deals with the problems of growing old. But mostly, I hope, it’s a ‘rattling good yarn’ which I really enjoyed writing. Part of the enjoyment came from using the livelier portions of my own family history. When, for instance, Abigail turns her dead husband’s room into a dusty shrine, she’s not acting like a latter-day Miss Havisham. What she does is actually based on the eccentricities of my Great Aunt Eva who took matters further than Abigail (or even Miss Havisham). After being jilted at age nineteen, Great Aunt Eva ‘took to her bed’ and never got out of it again until she was carried out dead sixty years later.
But that’s another story, albeit a true one! This one’s not true, and it’s Abigail’s.
A random act of kindness from a stranger forces 86 year old Abigail to reassess her life. She vows to be old and lonely no longer. Instead she will join her lover, her soul mate, and they will embark on the greatest adventure of their lives…
But even the best plans may be thwarted by another random act of kindness.
He came nearer and she leaned on him with one hand and removed her shoes with the other, dangling them by their straps. The jacket fell open again, but she ignored it, too absorbed in the delicious sensation of bare toes meeting damp earth. No stockings–not with rationing–but bare toes felt good and so did Jean-Paul’s eyes which were locked on her again. And this time he did not look away.
Her arm dropped from his shoulder and she straightened up, standing naked and proud before him, and no longer vulnerable. When his eyes eventually met hers, she held them there–relaxed, happy and, for the first time that night, in control.
“Abigail.” He released the word reverentially, as though they were in church. “It is fate, Abigail.” Bending down, he kissed her neck so tenderly the touch was a mere breath, a whisper. She shivered, though not with the cold. Then he looked at her face as if searching for something. His fingers lightly traced the swelling on her cheek and his lips caressed her wound. “You are hurt. I should get you home.” He pulled the jacket together over her nakedness and did up the buttons.