Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (42) A Kind Heart Reawakened (Part 03)
Louise Burrell was a friend of his, though she had not been such a close friend of his as much as she was of his wife because she was 9 years his junior.
He had known her for quite a few years however as she had sat on numerous committees with his wife Glenda.
He had however got to know her better during his wife’s illness, and to his mind she had been an absolute godsend to him when Glenda passed and was an absolute rock in the months that followed the funeral.
She was such a strong young woman, confident and together so he couldn’t imagine what could have happened to have reduced her to such a wretched state.
As he had not participated much in church life over the last year he subsequently had not seen much of her.
He had always really liked her, she was funny and quirky and she always had a smile on her face and was always full of beans.
Which is why it was such a surprise for him to find her crying her heart out.
He had never once seen her down in all the years’ he’d known her and she was universally loved.
It had always amazed him how she had remained single, she was such an attractive brunette with a pretty face, a nice figure and a bubbly personality, but he had never once seen her with a man.
He had supposed at one time that she might be gay as she shared a flat with a large mono browed woman called Deidre.
But then he heard that Deidre was engaged to a man from a neighbouring church so that squashed that theory.
Her second response to his discovering her crying was to apologize to him.
“I’m sorry” she sobbed and tried to push passed him “I’m so sorry”
“Don’t be silly Louise” Keith said and blocked her exit “Tell me what’s wrong”
Louise looked up at him through tear filled green eyes and then buried her face in his chest and she sobbed her heart out for a full five minutes and Keith just held her and made all the appropriate sympathetic noises he thought she would expect to hear.
His head was filled with scenarios that may have brought her to the state that he found her in.
For example had she been attacked? Had there been an accident? Had someone died? His imagination ran wild with possibilities.
When she had calmed down a little she lifted her head up from his chest and said through the deep sobs
“I’ve got….your shirt….wet”
“That’s ok” he assured her
“And snotty” Louise added
“That’s ok too” he said with a chuckle and fished a hanky from his pocket so she could dry her eyes and blow her nose.
Further along that corridor there was a small lounge filled with an assortment of leather chairs and comfy sofas, at the back of the building that looked onto, but could not be accessed from, the terrace.
Which meant it was more private and therefore there was less chance someone would be witness should she break down again.
“Let’s go in there” he said “and you can tell me what’s wrong”
“It’s ok” she said wiping her eyes “I’ll be fine now”
“Nonsense” he said in his best avuncular tone “you’re far from ok”
“Really” she insisted but she could not disguise the catch in her throat, he just gave her a knowing look and so she conceded.