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Tilly on Earth

by Jubbly 

Posted: 18 May 2007
Word Count: 305
Summary: My attempt at the Going Back challenge.

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The old lady sat slumped on the park bench, even the scavenging pigeons left her alone, certain she’d nothing to offer. Desire and hope had deserted her, leaving in their wake a desolate state of exhaustion. Her upper body quivered as she shouldered her woes. What had gone wrong? Where had all her dreams gone? Had they died with age like her beauty, gone but sadly not forgotten?

How had she ended up all alone? Where did they all go, those important movers and shakers of your youth? One thing was certain, they’d faired better than she. Now here she was, a figure of fun for the children to mock and the adults to shake their heads in dismay, tut tutting as they passed. Just an old bag of brittle bones and papery skin.

She was so engrossed in her misery she didn't notice a stranger tip toeing toward her.

That's her, thought Tilly; she is most definitely on my list.

Ethel, Tilly whispered. Hello Ethel, I’ve come for you.

Tilly climbed up onto the seat beside her and gently ever so gently tapped her on the arm.

An angel’s kiss they call it in the manual.

The old lady looked up, her watery eyes clear for the first time in a long time, something was different but she knew not what.

A smile settled on her thin lips as she recalled a moment of happiness from her past. A young man's strong hand on her back as he waltzed her across a ballroom; the tiny whimper of her firstborn as he suckled her breast; snuggling onto her father's lap as he read her a fairy story. 'Yes', she thought, I suppose it has all been worth it.

Tilly ran off, glowing with achievement. Ethel leaned back on the bench and drew her final breath,

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Comments by other Members

Forbes at 21:04 on 18 May 2007  Report this post
Oh so sad, yet comforting too.

It was a little front end rich in detail and lighter at the end.

as she recalled a moment of happiness from her past

being nosey I'd have liked to know what.

Should Tilly have quote marks for speech & thought?

A very sweet comforting tale - there's hope for all of us to cross with ease.




Jubbly at 08:44 on 19 May 2007  Report this post
Thanks Forbes, you're right. I'll address those problems if I can.



tiger_bright at 09:03 on 19 May 2007  Report this post
Lovely flash, Jubbly, I really felt Ethel's regret and despair, and the image of the strong hand waltzing her away at the end seemed the perfect way to go, whisked off to 'a better place'.

One of my favourite lines was

Just an old bag of brittle bones and papery skin.

although perhaps you could remove 'old', as you've established that and it's implicit in the rest of the line. I think the line is even better without that extra word.

Thanks for an uplifting read,


tractor at 11:10 on 19 May 2007  Report this post
Gentle, involving and optimistic writing. Great read.


Forbes at 11:11 on 19 May 2007  Report this post

Yes! You've satisfied my curiosity

thank you


Jumbo at 11:14 on 19 May 2007  Report this post

Really lovely!

You certainly showed us poor old Ethel's sadness and despair. Nicely done.

One v small pick - in that penultimate paragraph - which I thought was so clever - could you change the commas after 'ballroom' and 'breast' to semi-colons. I struggled with an image of the child at Ethel's breast who was also snuggling onto her father's lap! Had to read it twice to get what you meant!

Great flash. Thanks for the read,


Elbowsnitch at 15:47 on 19 May 2007  Report this post
Julie, I was intrigued by Tilly - who or what is she? An angel, a bit like a cross between a fairy and an animal. Very physical, the way she glows with achievement - and her climbing on to the bench seems to imply she's small in stature.

Memories of desire and comfort, human touches, are beautifully evoked.

I wondered about 'pencil thin lips', since pencils are a bit thicker than most lips?

Full point rather than comma at end of final sentence?

Best wishes, Frances

crowspark at 15:59 on 19 May 2007  Report this post
A lovely tale of an angel's first stint as the angel of death. Poor Ethel, neglected even by the pigeon's, let alone her family. Great sense of the surprise and disappointment about the banality of life, leaving
Just an old bag of brittle bones and papery skin.

Loved that punultimate parafraph.
Thanks for the read.

Account Closed at 17:53 on 19 May 2007  Report this post
Oh, this was lovely. Nothing useful to say, I'm afraid, just that I loved it. Very sad, very poignant.
p x

optimist at 18:11 on 19 May 2007  Report this post
This is so sad - poor Ethel!

I did like Tilly - doing her good deed for the day?


Jubbly at 08:57 on 20 May 2007  Report this post
Thanks everyone. Yes Jumbo, I agree, I've made those changes and some others. Tilly is a trainee Angel, this is part of a series I started a few years back, the other one is in my archive, I think.

Prospero at 18:37 on 20 May 2007  Report this post
Hi Jubbly

This is a lovely little story that touches on the truth of that great mystery 'What happens when we die'. Although I have no proof, my own belief system accomodates friends and relatives coming to gather in their loved ones and what could be nicer than having a trainee angel among them.

Thanks for the read



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