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Hilda looked up “Nell….” then she stopped herself, Nell wasn’t there, hadn’t been there all term yet in unguarded moments she still found herself talking to her. She put down her pen and sighed, never before had she felt the loneliness that she had felt these last six weeks. Nearly half term, normally the two of them would have been planning something, but not this half term. Joey had offered her a place, and it was kindly meant but she couldn’t face the noise or bustle of a large family. There wasn’t time to go to the cottage, besides she wasn’t sure she really wanted to, it would make the feelings worse. She would just stay here, go for walks, try to enjoy the peace of a nearly empty school.

Nell looked out at grey skies and sleet, thinking over her first few weeks in charge. She had made mistakes, there were times she had needed Hilda’s advice so badly, times she wished she could have passed the problem to Hilda. She admitted with a smile to herself that Hilda was the better head, she wasn’t jealous of that, it was a fact. And she missed her so, so badly. And that was a fact as well.

Hilda looked out at the grey sea, she had received a letter from Nell that morning, it had both cheered yet saddened her. She thought honestly over the last six weeks, realizing that she had coped with all the problems by herself. No one appeared surprised that she had, nor really commented that she must be missing Nell. She smiled ruefully, she must be hiding it well, this loneliness. Was she the better head, the thought popped into her head unexpectedly, she pondered it.Then honestly admitted that she probably was, in some ways anyway, Nell had her own capabilities, together they worked well, apart, well Hilda knew she could cope now. But she missed her so badly, six more weeks, it seemed a lifetime.

Nell walked through the light covering of snow, very early that year, hopefully not a sign of a bad winter. She thought of the previous weeks, yes she had made mistakes but at the same time she had begun to find herself, not as Hilda’s shadow but head in her own right. Did she enjoy it, she pondered, yes, in a way she did, it could be quite exciting to work things out. She knew Hilda had carried her at times but now it was up to her alone and she was determined to cope.But she missed her partner, still six more long weeks to go.

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