Stories

I have become the stories that my parents told each other, nervous, excited, looking at the sky.
I am the stories that friends have woven and imagined, each new beginning another tale.
One day, one day, I will be the stories that my children more or less remember or in their own ages tell their own.
I was, will be, and am those stories.

Storytelling

Guess what happened next! You’ll never guess!

Was it the elephant?

No!

Did Guacamole the cowboy come back?

No.

Ooh, ooh! The spaceship –

No! No, it was Mrs Bunn the baker! She –

I don’t remember her.

Mrs Bunn! Mrs Bunn the baker! She –

No, I don’t remember her. Tell me about the elephant. I like the elephant.

Tell me a story

Daddy, tell me the story of the ninja horse.”

“I don’t know that one.”

“The princess, the sword and the unicorn.”

“Or that one.”

“Mummy knows them.”

“Clever Mummy. What about the one where Jack’s beans talk?”

“No.”

“The one where poor little Nick never gets chosen but one day the teddy bears pick Nick?”

“OK. But only if they live happily ever after. And together.”

“OK.”

“I like together.” 

She used to say ‘Oh, stop it’

She used to say ‘Oh, stop it’ and smiley frown hit his chest with the side of her fist, sometimes thumping it once as if to open a stuck shut suitcase, sometimes drumming on his sternum to shock his heart back to life. He would laugh and the clouds would darken then clear from her face and she would turn and walk away, he hoped hiding a smile.

The one day she turned a corner and when he got there she was gone, not hiding behind the hedges or disappearing on a bus. Just gone.

Stand smiling like an idiot.
Think about calling.
Turn around in circles, both ways.
Call quietly.
Go back to the corner and look up to the sky.
Perch on the low brick wall where the hedge ends and check your phone for messages.
Look around again.
Let time pass.
Look at the pavement, look around the corner, look at the sky.
Walk home and close the door quietly.

Years later, after the tears, the police, the almost forgetting then the sudden remembering like lightning cracking the sky, years later, he wrote his story and put it on his blog.

Days later, when the story had been and gone and there had been only one click, there was a single sharp knock at his door. In the silence it knocked at his heart like a small clenched fist. He went to the door and listened.

I sat there among the young ones

I sat there among the young ones, my house and hope gone. The photographer must have thought I’d make a moving picture as I hunched forward, face in my hands, my daughter looking away from me. He must have knelt on the muddy torn grass to place the clever metaphoric clouds in my background. He must have made a noise to make me look round. But I did not look at him when I turned round, I looked at the man with the gun and the knife, who left only me to tell the story. And the camera he took from the photographer’s hand. 

 

Can also be seen at http://spontaneity.org/issue02/i-sat-there-among-the-young-ones/