Phillip slammed the phone down, he was angry, why couldn’t anybody see the situation like he could? He would call his parents back later and apologise but for now he had stormed off into the garden to be alone and try to make sense of it all.


 John, the local farmer, was reversing his tractor and trailer through Phillip’s gate.  He pulled the lever and dropped a ton of logs in the driveway.

     “That should keep you going through the cold weather” he said and with a cheery smile and a wave he was gone.

Phillip watched the smoky tractor as it disappeared down the narrow lane. He surveyed the pile of well seasoned logs, all of which required splitting ready for the winter. Going to the tool shed, he picked up the axe. Phillip returned and attacked the wood with gusto.


He needed something like this to take his mind off the great problem that was foremost in his head. Tomorrow Phillip was marrying his sister Julie. He wasn’t happy with the prospect but both his mother and father were delighted. The whole family were coming from far and wide to celebrate with the happy couple.


Thwack! The first log was sheared in two.


Even his grandmother thought it was a very sweet idea but she always had been an old romantic.


Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! That was a tough one.


     “What would his late grandfather have thought?” As long as there were a few beers involved he probably wouldn’t have minded that much.


The log pile was reducing and he was getting hot, so he took his jacket off.


He and Julie had always been very close, just over a year between their ages, they were more like twins but being the older brother brought with it responsibilities for his sister. When she was young they would play pirates or Robin Hood in the garden, he was the one who comforted her if she fell over and he was the one who taught her how to ride a bike. They had many memorable adventures on those bicycle rides.  Down at the park, she would join in the football games and to be honest she wasn’t a bad player. When Phillip got into the school first team she supported him every Saturday morning. He was her hero and protector and indeed he would have laid down his own life to save hers.


The axe swung again Thwack! It was really quite satisfying. The firewood pile was building up nicely and he smiled at the thought of the roaring fires he would have next winter.


When they went to school, he kept an eye on her in the playground and her homework was always the first priority. She was a bright girl but Phillip was always there to help with those difficult subjects or mathematical problems. Only when her work was completed then he would do his.

He worried when he left the school, but he shouldn’t have, Julie was a confident and clever pupil, mainly due to Phillip’s support and guidance.


When he went to university, he missed her desperately, but only a year later she joined him there and he resumed his protective elder brother role.


     “Why on earth did she want to get married?”


Three years on, he had graduated and had to leave her on her own, with all the dangers a young girl on her own had to face. He phoned at every opportunity guiding her along the best and safest routes to take.


Thwack! Another log was split, tugging his sweatshirt over his head exposing his fine physique, he wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand then he attacked the pile of logs again.


She had sailed through university and graduated with honours. Her parents were so proud and she had moved back home to their house. She easily got a job at Lloyds bank with her qualifications nobody was surprised. Her career at the bank took off and within two years she had risen up to a very responsible position in the foreign currency department. Everything looked promising for her and a great future was forecast.


He still remembered that day when there was a knock on his front door and he opened it to find Julie in a state of excitement. He had been shocked when Julie asked him that question.


     “Phillip will you marry me?”


A state of confusion followed, his head was all over the place. He asked his parents what he should do. Somewhat surprised at their obvious delight at the thought, he had come back home to try and come to terms with the whole situation. But that was months ago and now the wedding was upon him tomorrow and he was still unsure what the outcome would be.


Thwack! Thwack! Thwack he was going like a machine gun stacking the woodpile and releasing his pent up frustrations. He was enjoying the task, he mused, and thought that maybe he should have taken a more physical job.


    “Hello handsome”


He was jerked back into reality, it was Julie she gave him an admiring look. She looked stunningly beautiful.

    “I hope you’re not going to wear yourself out before my big day tomorrow.”

He gave her a big sweaty hug then he said.

    “Of course not, I wouldn’t want to let you down on your most important day but are you absolutely sure that this is what you want?”

She looked up at him with her big blue eyes full of emotion.

     “I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life. I’m marrying the most important man in the world to me. Please tell me it’s what you want too.”


He softened looking into those appealingly beautiful eyes.

     “If you are really sure then I will do everything in my power to make you happy.”

She flung her arms around his neck and kissed him on the cheek.

      “Thank you, now you finish up here and get an early night. Don’t be late in the morning, that’s the bride’s prerogative not the Vicars!”


1024 words Michael White 2020

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