Sun scorches my skin. There’s no breeze, no respite, just the comforting discomfort of prickling pain. Heat-softened tarmac warms my body.
Despite this, and some discomfort, I’ve found a strange kind of peace. Peace amongst the rising panic in the voices around me. Peace amongst the rumble of queuing cars, engines running on standstill, the buses, the immaculate Chelsea tractors. Sheffield’s buzzing suburbia, brought to a dramatic standstill.
Yummy mummies leave the coffee shop, passing my now vacated table, with spent coffee cup now stained with froth and sprinkled chocolate. Their necks crane as they push Bugaboos by the scene. Chubby hands reach for tiny, sockless toes and something somewhere, deep in my subconscious, recalls a feeling. A past.
I stare at the endless, denim-blue sky. There’s a whisper of cloud in the distance; a plane dawdles its vapour trail from east to west. A face obscures my view.
Rough, sweaty hands cup my face. It’s a man wearing the green shirt and trousers of a paramedic. ‘Can you hear me? I’m John, I’m here to help you.’ His eyes seek mine for a response. Beads of sweat form across his forehead. He wipes them with his arm; his shirt soaks up the dew. ‘Can you tell me your name? Can you tell me what happened?’
But I can’t tell him. Or I won’t tell him. Because, really, what’s the point? I close my eyes and dream of a Grimm tale without the Disney ending.
Apparently this summer’s going to be a long one. Like 1976. I suppose it would have been a shame to miss it.
Hello? Rhys Woods? I have a patient here I think you know. Yours is the only number in her diary…
When Rhys is called to the hospital to meet Susan, a woman he barely knows, he is compelled to help her. Still grieving the loss of his brother months earlier, Rhys knows all too well the feeling of loneliness.
There are years between them, but Rhys is the only person Susan will respond to, and when she asks him to bring her her most treasured possession, a book of fairytales, he is intrigued.
Hidden in the book is a clue to Susan’s past, and the painful regrets she carries with her. And as Rhys starts to unearth Susan’s secrets, he finds that his own grief begins to heal too…
Together, Susan and Rhys must learn to live again. Can they help each other to find happiness and finally mend their broken hearts?