13. ‘Through Thick & Thin’

Today’s track is ‘She’s Cool’ by Nathan McCree, taken from ‘The Tomb Raider Suite’ album. You can listen to the track HERE and visit the site HERE.

I smiled as I watched Winston prepare breakfast. As the bacon sizzled away noisily in a frying pan, he hummed to himself, nodding his head rhythmically to a melody only he could hear. The manor would feel terribly lonely without him here. Although I wasn’t one for really displaying my feelings all that often, even to him, I hoped he knew just how much he was appreciated.

We were companions, we’d gone through thick and thin together and to my delight, he’d chosen to stay with me after my Aunt had passed away – even if I had tortured him every now and again with a couple of pranks or getting him to help me with target practice.

I firmly stood by my belief that I didn’t need anybody; however I did need Winston. Both he and the manor were the two stabilities in my life, the two things I’d always known would be there no matter what. I’d do anything for him, and I’d certainly do everything in my power to protect him.

Without my so-called family’s interest in me, to have Winston regale me with tales about Aunty and my childhood was heartwarming. He’d leave out the parts with my parents; I didn’t need to know anything else about them that I hadn’t already known. Winston was my family and had been since I was a child.

Over the years, we became each other’s pillars. He’d helped me learn more about what had happened on these grounds, he’d told me about the cuts and scrapes he’d nursed for me – he also told me what he’d really thought about the rest of the Crofts after that life-changing incident.

I’d always told Winston that he was free to do whatever he pleased, however after his wife had passed on and with no children to parent, he seemed quite happy to stay here. We’d dedicated a section of the grounds to her, Emmanuelle’s Garden. It was filled with fragrant roses, beds full of pinks and lilacs and full shrubbery – it was a beautiful space where he could come and remember her. I’d admit, watching him take care of the garden was both heartbreaking and uplifting to see. Sometimes I’d stand watching over him from my bedroom window, seeing him chat away to her as he tidied the fallen petals.

I enjoyed walking around the garden with him as we sipped tea from delicate cups, listening to stories of their past and the memories that they’d shared together. Wandering through the sacred garden allowed us to open ourselves up. I enjoyed hearing all about her every time we planted and watered; I was only small when she passed so my memories of her were blurry at best. However with Winston’s vivid storytelling and the pictures that were dotted around the manor, I was able to picture his memories a little clearer.

‘How would you feel about doing a spot of gardening with me this afternoon?’ I asked him, folding up the day’s paper and tossing it down on the table.

‘I’d love to.’ He smiled fondly.


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