18th September

The Right Thing

It was a day like any other. She saw the twins off to school, kissed their father on his way out, then rapidly tidied the kitchen before leaving the house herself. She was always last away, first back. The twins had keys but she liked to be home before they were.

She worked part-time, finishing at two when everybody else returned from lunch. Holding the fort, that was what she did between one and two. Not much happened in that hour – a few phone calls, an occasional delivery – but somebody had to be on reception.

Holding the fort: it made her think of the Westerns they used to show on Sunday afternoons when she was a girl.

Nothing stood still. Already her own girls were nearly old enough to marry, and would only narrowly miss voting in the referendum.

On the way home she went to the polling place, a church hall. She handed over her card and received the ballot paper.

She had read and listened to all the arguments about the economy, assets, debts, pensions, oil, membership of this or that international organisation, but as she stood in the booth, pencil poised, none of them seemed to matter. What mattered was how she felt.

When she reached home she put the radio on for the news. The reader reported simply that voting was brisk. Of course he wasn’t permitted to say anything that might influence those still to vote.

She started to prepare the evening meal.

Brisk: were people voting with swift but certain resolve? Or were they rushing at it, not giving it due consideration?

She’d considered it, long and hard. How often did such an opportunity come along? To vote for – or against – your country’s independence? Once in a lifetime, they were saying, but it was rarer than that.

What was independence? What did it mean in this crowded, connected world?

Well, she had made her mark. She felt she had done the right thing.

She heard the door opening, their voices, their shoes on the stairs. She made a pot of tea and waited for them to join her, as they would, because it was a day like any other.

Reader: Claire Sawers
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Piano: Kit Downes
Subscribe here for more stories & music