Ruby & Nora

Published on May 26th, 2011 by

—– Original Message —–
From: nora.marsden@gmail.com
To: rubesmarsden85@hotmail.co.uk
Sent: 26/08/2011 19:36
Subject: Just to say hi

Dear Ruby,
Just testing out my new Email capabilities. I took a course at the Community Centre on how to use computers. I enjoyed it so much! So I went out and bought myself a little computer, got the nice lad Dennis from the village grocery to set it up for me. This might come as a surprise, given that you’ve always chided me for not even owning a TV, but there you go.
I remembered that I had your email address from a long time ago; you gave it to me, you were excited that you’d signed up in class. “If you ever get the internet Granny,” you said, “you can send me letters.” You were 11 then, just started big school and wanted to show me what you were doing. Of course, I didn’t even have a computer then so I wrote you a letter. I saw you later that day and you laughed; “nobody uses the post nowadays Granny” you said, but I could tell how much you’d enjoyed receiving it. And sure enough, a couple of days later you wrote back to me. We wrote to each other every few days for almost a year, do you remember Ruby? You didn’t always post yours, I wouldn’t have expected you to pay for stamps at that age. You’d bring them round and tuck them under the fruit bowl. I’d pretend not to see it until after you’d left.
I used to love reading your letters, Ruby. Hope you’re well.
Love,
Granny Nora

—– Original Message —
From: nora.marsden@gmail.com
To: rubesmarsden85@hotmail.co.uk
Sent: 11/09/2011 20:01
Subject: Memories

Dear Ruby,
I know you haven’t replied yet, and I hope I’m not being problematic by emailing you again, but I was just thinking of when you were younger. Thelma Cravey from the village (do you remember her?) had her young grandson to visit and it got me thinking about times past. How you used to come around with Belle, and the first thing you’d do would be to go to my cupboard, fling the doors open and find the sweets. Then you’d come and sit beside me on the sofa, I’d open the packet for you, and we’d sit there eating jelly babies together. We used to make up stories for them. Can you recall any of them? I wish I’d written some of them down at the time. They always used to make you laugh!
“You shouldn’t give her so many sweets Mum,” Belle would say, and I’d tell her that was nonsense, a bit of sugar wouldn’t do a growing girl any harm.
All my friends used to love when you’d come to stay. My little red-haired granddaughter, skipping through the village, bringing life and energy to our quiet home. I used to take you there, back when I could still drive, and you’d help me buy supplies; coal and soup for the winter, barbecue food for the summer. I don’t have that horrible old coal fire any more. I got a wood burner, and Dennis comes up occasionally to chop some of the fallen trees into firewood. It’s much warmer, and God knows I need that these days. But you don’t want to hear about your old granny’s dicky hip, or any of her ailments. When you were a little girl, you were always very strong, very healthy, and when we went to the village you’d ask me to run with you, and by God I’d try. Running, laughing, then when we got back to my house, walking through the woods as you marvelled at all the birds, the snowdrops, the squirrels that pointed and chittered from the branches.
You used to love those times, Ruby. And so did I.
Much love,
Granny Nora

—– Original Message —–
From: nora.marsden@gmail.com
To: rubesmarsden85@hotmail.co.uk
Sent: 23/10/2011 19:47
Subject: Hope all is well

Dear Ruby,
I still haven’t heard back from you, but I’m not concerned. I know you’re busy living your life. I spoke to Belle today. She hasn’t heard from you in a while either. She told me you to had a falling-out. I don’t want to pry, and I know Belle isn’t always as supportive as she could be, but…
Anyway. I asked her about this Email thing. She said as far as she knew, you had the same address. Hopefully one day you’ll see these emails. I’m looking forward to that day, Ruby. I do miss you, you know. I know things changed, but whatever happened between you and Belle, you’re still her daughter and you’re still my grandaughter. We both love you and care about what happens to you. It would be lovely to hear from you one day.
I often wonder what your Grampa would have thought of these modern things like Email, the Internet, the Web. He was always fond of tinkering with radios, then later television sets, things like that. I think he would have enjoyed modern technology. I used to talk about him with you, Ruby. I don’t know if you remember. He died when you were only just born, so you never knew him, but I shared a lot of stories with you when you were a child. He was a good man, your Grampa. A fine man. A man with honour and integrity. Always stood up for what he believed in, always treated me right. I hope you find a man like him one day. I always had that hope for Belle too, but I think she’s given up. Maybe it might do her good to meet a fellow, finally get married… oh I know, it’s silly, I’m a traditionalist, and I’m sure you don’t want to hear about your mother in such a way, but if I ever bring it up with her she tells me to be quiet. Fair enough, I suppose.
Anyway I’ve rambled enough, hope to hear from you soon,
Lots of love,
Granny Nora

—– Original Message —–
From: nora.marsden@gmail.com
To: rubesmarsden85@hotmail.co.uk
Sent: 11/11/2011 20:11
Subject: Bad company to keep

Dearest Ruby,
I hope my last email wasn’t too forward or too pushy. I don’t want to put you off from replying. I just grow concerned about you at times, and about your mum. I wish you two would reconcile. I know she’s not been the best role model, I really do. Perhaps if you could speak to me instead, I could pass on a message from you.
I’m sorry. I don’t want to nag. I just think you and she deserve a little happiness, a little chance to relax. You’re always running, Ruby, from something, and so is Belle. I despair at times, thinking back to the little grandaughter I loved, whom I was so close to and promised to protect. I feel as if I’ve failed you, my little red angel. If James were alive, he’d know the right things to say. If there were men like James -your Grampa, of course- at all, maybe things would be different. You know more than most what the wrong man can do. You, and your mother before you, seem to have been preyed upon by a string of them. But it’s never too late, Ruby. Email me, or pick up the phone. There’s nothing to run from here. It’ll be easy to get your head straightened, to get clean, you wouldn’t even need to see Belle if you didn’t want to, I could arrange for her to keep away just until you were ready.
You never know when it’ll be too late. I don’t want to leave this world without having seen my darling grandaughter again. The Marsdens have always been strong women, and I know it’ll go against your nature to except help, even from your Granny, but there’s no shame in turning to those who love you in times of need.
Oh, maybe I’m being silly. Maybe you don’t need my help. The last time I saw you was… fraught. Maybe you’re doing okay since then. I’d love to hear from you, just to know.
Once again Ruby, I’m sorry for putting pressure on you. And I’m sorry I haven’t tried harder to reach out in the past. I understand if it seems like I haven’t been there. I’m sorry.

Love,
Granny Nora

—– Original Message —–
From: nora.marsden@gmail.com
To: rubesmarsden85@hotmail.co.uk
Sent: 29/11/2011 19:02
Subject: Strange coincidence

Dear Ruby,
I was down in the village yesterday and I saw something that made my heart leap into my throat. It was that boy, Ruby, and I’m loathe to speak his name but I think you know the one I mean. That terrible, awful boy who started it all. That college boy, or he was back then anyway. He’s a man now. Still that same wide, white smile, same cocky swagger. You never told me the details, Ruby, but just enough to know he was bad, bad news. I know how badly he treated you, the things he did to you, the things he got you into. It took all my strength not to walk up to him and spit in his face. Then I had doubts. Maybe it wasn’t even him. Maybe I’d just been thinking of him anyway, after my last email. But it was, I am sure. I felt that same cold chill I’d felt when he turned up that day, looking for you. It was the last day I saw you actually. We only spoke on the phone after that, and beyond then, through Belle. I’m sure you remember. And now he was here, just passing through, Olga at the village store said.
But even so, Ruby, as much as it pains me to say this, maybe it’s best if you don’t just turn up here any time soon. Call me, I know you have my number. I won’t pretend, I know it’s you who’s been phoning, I can sense you on the other end. Us Marsden women are sensitive like that Ruby, you know this. You know I’m there for you, and for that I am glad. But this boy is bad news. I know you have nothing to do with him any more, according to Belle anyway, but even so… please be careful.

Lots of love,
Granny Nora

—– Original Message —–
From: nora.marsden@gmail.com
To: rubesmarsden85@hotmail.co.uk
Sent: 16/12/2011 21:56
Subject: Stupid old woman I am

Ruby, my dearest grandaughter,
These days, I dream of you and all I see is darkness. The substances, the things you’ve done, the money you stole that last day. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. Whether you took it for him, or to get away from him, it doesn’t matter. To think of my darling grandaughter in pain, abused, mistreated, the girl I bounced on my knee, shared stories with, walked hand in hand with through the village. I don’t care if you strayed off the path.. I miss you and I miss Belle.
I had a fall, Ruby. On the ice as I was going into the village. Your stupid old granny wasn’t careful, and she slipped and fell. Ridiculous. Dennis’s father found me, got the boy to bring me back to my place. They wanted to take me to a hospital but you know us, stubbornness runs in our family. I don’t need a hospital, I just need rest. The pain is quite something though, I can hardly move. The old injury playing up again. Dennis is going to bring me food and more firewood a few times a week, he said. I should be fine. He’s got a key so he can get in. I insisted I’d be fine.
Then he left, and the fear began. What if something happens to him? What if I’m stuck up here for the winter? Oh it’s silly isn’t it, even if by some horrible chance something were to happen to poor Dennis, his father and the other villagers know what’s up. They’ll see me good, I know they will. You just look after yourself, Ruby. I don’t need you to do anything, I can manage fine, I would just love to hear from you. Just a quick message to let me know you’re okay. I think it would do me the world of good.
After that, I promise to stop with the incessant emails. Just… get in touch, darling? Please?

Love you,
Granny Nora

—– Original Message —–
From: nora.marsden@gmail.com
To: rubesmarsden85@hotmail.co.uk
Sent: 19/12/2011 13:18
Subject:

Ruby.
I’m afraid to say, things have taken a turn for the worse. I do not think I shall be able to make it through alone. Just traversing the house is an issue! My knee is terrible, worse than it has been in years!
Ruby, I’m asking for your help. I need you, my grand daughter. I can’t reach your mum, otherwise I’d not ask for you to do this, but… I just don’t think I can last the season out if I’m to fend for myself. Rubes, please. If you ever felt anything for your grandmother at all, please come. I need you. I am sorry to imposeon you like this, I really am.
If you would be so kind, please bring some provisions. The television said snow was heading in. It’s going to be a cold, treacherous winter. Please do take care when driving here, you know what the roads can be like at this time of year. I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you before you arrived.
I thank you in advance, Ruby. I know that you will do the right thing, despite our differences in the past.
The boy from the village greengrocer’s has just been, so I won’t see anyone for a few days. I’ll be here all alone. I hope to see you soon… maybe tonight? I can only hope. The boy brought me some food, some lovely fresh bread and a delightful home-baked cake. I shall save that, Ruby, for when you arrive.
It’ll be all the better to eat with you, my dear.

Your loving grandmother,
Nora

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