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Faith, Charity and Hope
by Oonah V Joslin

Faith filled the small biscuit-glaze jug with water, placed it in the centre of the table and fluffed out the wild flowers she’d picked. Wild flowers always looked so innocent and pretty. Ben had phoned to say he’d be late again but she was ahead of the game this time. She only had to reheat dinner in the microwave – her one concession to culinary modernity.

Ben called out that he was home, went to wash his hands and splashed some water over his face and bald head. “Smells good,” he said sitting down to dinner. Pizza would have done. “I thought we threw that out?” he said pointing at the old jug.
“Took it to a Charity Shop last year,” she said.
“So, how come it’s back?”
“Oh, it isn’t the same one,” she explained helpfully leaving him more confused.
“Where did you get this one from then?”
“I got it from a Charity Shop,” she said fetching the potatoes. “Not the same one of course.”
“The Charity Shop or the jug?” he asked.
“Both… I mean - neither.”
Ben thought about this. “So you gave one, to one Charity Shop and then went and bought one exactly the same from another Charity Shop a few months later?”
“That’s right dear.”
“Hardly economical… Why?”
“I wanted to put wild flowers in it.”
He decided to give up and just eat.

“Do you know that woman who used to work in the Charity shop?” she asked.
“No… What woman?”
“The false blond I told you about.”
He looked blankly at her.
“The gossip monger. Oh Ben, you do know - she told me about Kath and Brian and it turned out to be true. Well, she’s doing someone else’s husband herself now, apparently – and after all she said too! They were - seen you know?”
Ben swallowed. “Oh? And where did you get that from?”
“The Charity Shop of course! The woman there told me.” Faith smiled. She loved a bit of good old fashioned, traditional dirt.
“But not the same Charity Shop?”
“Yes - but a different woman. Anyway, from what I hear they must be both pretty desperate. Apparently he’s bald and she’s fat and they’re no spring chickens neither of them.”
“Bit uncharitable…,” he remarked.

Faith continued to chatter away but he was only half listening.

“Ben,” she said, “you’re not listening to a word I say, are you?”

He smoothed a hand over his scalp. “I am dear, but I do hope you don’t believe everything you hear in Charity Shops. Second hand gossip is notoriously unreliable.”