This is an activity from the A215 Creative Writing Course that I’m doing with the OU. I’m writing about Sandra and James Hartington, who are visiting a marriage guidance counsellor. It’s written in first-person, from the point of view of Jane Le Fin, the marriage guidance counsellor. It is an exercise in creating a story that uses foreshadowing (Activity 10.5).
In this job you learn to trust your instincts. By the end of the very first session I knew that their chances of staying together were next to none. Some say that I’m a saviour; others claim that I just love to revel in people’s misery. I like both. Incidentally, my name is Jane Le Fin, a Lassie from Falkirk, who married a Sassenach from Stockport. I’m a marriage guidance counsellor; have been for many years – to many in fact.
It was through a referral that I came to know Sandra and James Hartington: the early 40s couple that visit me weekly, on a Wednesday at 6pm, in my damp second floor office on Harvey Street; about 500 yards from the Premier Inn Stockport Central.
To tell the truth their visit enlightens my week. It’s always a raucous affair – far more entertaining than the contrived ‘good behaviour’ of most couples that promise to atone, like the sinner in confession, who soon reverts to type.
James and I usually talk amongst ourselves until the inevitable sound of ‘sorry I’m late. I had an important client on the phone,’ signals Sandra’s arrival – which usually rallies a war cry from James to the effect of – ‘for God’s sake, Sandra, I’ve put up with this for twenty years.’ Sandra’s retort last week had me biting my lip- ‘Yes, I know I’m late and that you were early, James – No wonder my friends call you Mr. Tissot.’
James phoned to cancel their meeting, earlier in the week. Apparently, he is starting divorce proceedings. I guess being right isn’t always the best feeling. How will I fill the void?