Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Posts Tagged ‘OLWG

OLWG#57, 58 & 59 – Missed Connection

with 2 comments

Hmm, well the least said about why I haven’t been keeping up with the New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts the better in terms of testing anyone’s boredom threshold. Herewith a story hopefully seamlessly incorporating the last three weeks’ prompts.

Thank you Thom for hosting as ever.

 

Missed Connection

It’s Friday again. Time to visit Nanna and make sure she eats. She will tell me she had corn flakes for breakfast smothered in strawberry yogurt. It’s what she always has. Always had. But I know the cereal packet will weigh exactly the same as last week and there will be the eight-pack of yogurts I left in the fridge last Friday untouched.

I no longer bite my tongue when Nanna tells me she eats her breakfast and prepares her lunch everyday. She has been telling herself, and us, these stories for years now. I will make her beans on toast; nutritious and filling, easy to swallow and digest, and tasty. Something we can share.

I find her watching The Walking Dead. Nanna used to hate watching the TV in the day, seeing it as a form of depravity, something the lower and non-working classes did to fill their time. All she has is time now, and a Sky box with buttons she doesn’t understand, so the telly blares daylong and she watches some really weird, age-inappropriate stuff. But it stops her wandering, and us wondering.

‘The dead don’t care much for fast food,’ she tells me as I stand in the doorway to the sitting room to let her know I am there. It does no good to surprise her, although by the time I have lunch ready I will probably have to introduce myself again.

Nanna remembers the dress she wore in 1936 when she sat on her father’s shoulders to watch the King and Queen pass by. Is it a sign, before the rot sets in, when people choose to show what a good memory they have for recalling way back then? She always used to tell that story, long before it was obvious she was leaving us.

‘Put that away,’ I hear her call out as I check the cupboards to make sure there are beans to eat. You never know when Nanna might have a lucid moment and regain who she once was. It doesn’t last long, but she has been known to prepare a meal, put it in the oven and forget, only for it to be found again when the smell and flies start to multiply. As for her admonishment, she might be telling the zombies not to eat their forebears or moaning that the adverts have come on. She never liked programmes being interrupted by ads.

The worst of it is, that when it started few could see it, and once it was obvious to all, she made excuses, had explanations, couldn’t, wouldn’t admit and seek help. It was hard to say she wasn’t lying to us, and much easier to talk about the stories we tell ourselves. The stories we use to make sense of the lives we lead. But how come Nanna couldn’t see she wasn’t coping when she called the fire brigade because the smoke alarm wouldn’t stop beeping? Surely even she could see that was inappropriate? Nope. And until she did something dangerous or talked complete gibberish to her GP, there was no one to help. She was convinced she could cope and convinced all those professionals she came into contact with the same. It was only the family and neighbours who saw, and screamed silently for things to be better.

‘The time got away from me,’ she said of burnt dinners, cold cups of tea, washing left flapping on the line for days and in need of re-washing.

The TV blares, zombies and humans screaming as I put the beans on to cook to mush. We both like them this way, not just reheated, but boiled until the beans collapse and the sauce reduces, a nice russet pulp. Yeah, I can only have beans like this when I visit Nanna. Everyone else complains, and so I don’t mind the weekly ritual. A full plate of beans on toast will keep her going until tomorrow when Sylvia comes.

I move to the sitting room door and say, ‘The beans are on Nanna. I’ll just do the toast and then come and get you.’

‘It’s going to be cooler this weekend,’ she says, not moving her eyes from the TV. It’s one of her stock responses, a space filler for when she knows she should say something but doesn’t know what. Or that’s what it’s become. It used to be a space filler whenever there was silence in a room. It was as if silence woke her and Nanna had to say something, anything, to maintain her connection with the world. And so began the nonsense conversations that were put down to her sense of humour and not recognised until much later as an early sign of her deteriorating neurones making surreal connections.

I toast the bread to mid-brown. There’s nothing nice about over or underdone toast. Nanna likes it perfectly cooked in the middle. It’s cooked, the beans are pulp, and I go to call Nanna from the sitting room. I have to switch the TV off, break that connection, to get her to move, but she stands happily enough and follows me to the kitchen table. Her legs are strong, and her arms. She could do for herself physically if only her mind was fitter.

‘A young man with a bad haircut came by,’ she says, fork loaded with beans and paused at her lips. ‘He looked a bit like you.’ She sucks the fork clean then examines my face, tilting her head to see me better, ‘Only he was younger and better looking.’ That was me then, last week, or a month ago, or three years. These days take their toll, and I only do one.

Carers come in to get Nanna up and put her to bed. That’s all they do, the washing, the personal care that family do not want to do. Nanna would hate to think any of her children or grandchildren were wiping her backside and so none of us do. But we feed her and shop for her and talk to her and love the woman she was. We are all tired. A day with her is enough for anyone. Mum has had it worse; being the closest child she takes on more. Her brother and sister really want to help, but mum is a bit of a control freak and says she’s fine. ‘Did you really think it through?’ Aunt Janet sometimes asks, ‘Did you think what a burden it is for you all?’ Because Janet is 50-miles away she does not do a daily run. No, those are for Mum, Dad, Josie my elder sister, Mum again, me, Sylvia my cousin and Janet’s daughter, and Patrick, some other relative of Nanna’s whose relationship to her escapes me. He’s a good egg that’s all I know, as patient as a saint, always cheerful, and not seeming to suffer as much as the rest of us do. He’s not ageing like the guy with the bad haircut.

Nanna and I eat quietly. I would like to fill her in on my week but I don’t have the energy to explain for the umpteenth time what work it is I do. It frustrates me when she can’t grasp what I’m talking about. I need to start making up stories for myself to tell her, stories about how I spend my days, with stock answers for her repetitive questions. She won’t remember the answers or be able to tell me when I say the opposite of what I said last time. Why haven’t I considered it before? My taste-buds are suddenly tasting smoky beans. No, I didn’t add barbeque sauce, but still they have taken on that soothing comforting tang.

‘I can’t find it anywhere,’ Nanna says, halfway through her lunch. She is very particular: eats one slice, cleans up all the loose beans, and leaves a second full covered slice with no beans on the plate.

‘What’s that, Nanna?’

‘I can’t find the hole in your soul.’

‘No. Oh well, maybe we can look for it after lunch. We’ve got strawberry yogurt for dessert. How does that sound?’

‘Very nice. I had a strawberry yogurt on my corn flakes this morning.’

‘I know, Nanna. But two strawberry yogurts in a day won’t hurt.’

 


 

This week’s prompts are:

  1. the dead don’t care much for fast food
  2. the time got away from me
  3. the hole in your soul

 

Last week’s were:

  1. a young guy with a bad haircut
  2. did you really think it through
  3. put that away

 

And the week before that were:

  1. cooler this weekend
  2. I can’t find it anywhere
  3. the silence woke her

 

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

 

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Written by Sarah Ann

July 18, 2018 at 8:33 pm

OLWG#56 – When Paul Was Five – #amwriting

with 6 comments

He is my response to this week’s New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild Prompts. This was fun to write, but didn’t take 25-minutes at all. It took a while longer and still needs re-editing and tweaking to make it better. Thank you Thom for the prompts that could only go one way for me this week.

 

When Paul Was Five

Clare decided long in advance that Paul should have a pirate-themed party for his fifth birthday. She collected together suitable detritus from the local charity shops – a squawking purple parrot on a perch, a sailing boat made of matches that was strictly hands-off, and various plastic chests of dubious treasure. With all the props she needed, Claire spent the two weeks leading up to the party making individual hats for the children expected, and hoped there would be no last minute invites as Paul made and broke buccaneers, or pushy parents approached with grappling irons. Paul was tasked with making all the swords, in cardboard of course. He and his father spent the month of weekends prior to the party’s launch decorating each sword hilt to match its owner. Paul was up on piratical law and myth, and there were runic decorations and symbols that had to be attached to explain the power and mastery of his crew in marauding and other plundering pastimes. Various pasta shapes, cotton reels, glitter, dyed string, and lots of paint, were used to make these messages clear.

As far as Clare was concerned, the only thing missing before the day was a pirate-themed magician. True, one wasn’t strictly necessary, but she needed some form of entertainment to keep the excitable little sea rats enraptured to save the tears as flimsy swords collapsed. A clown was not appropriate, balloon benders a bit old hat, and Clare searched long and hard but came up with no one suitable.

She discussed her dilemma at church and Phil, the cousin of the pastor’s wife, volunteered to come along. He had been in the merchant navy years since and had some treasures of his own he said he could bring, as well as photos and tales of tattooed peoples and brain-eaters. Clare was grateful, but pointed out the kids were only five and brain eating wasn’t necessarily appropriate. And could he please steer clear of voodoo and zombie tales. Clare didn’t want to be responsible for twenty families experiencing nightmares in the following weeks.

The day arrived: the kids played and ate, with only two throwing up from overindulgence. They fought and won their battles, cardboard swords starting to droop, leaving pasta and glitter all over the floor, and then they sat down to hear from Filibuster Phil, a man who had been to sea and see, and seen it all. Phil, as well as adopting a new moniker, revelled in his role and regaled them with stories of spotting enemy ships from the crows’ nest, being lashed to the mast to survive humungous storms, visiting islands of painted peoples, and the abilities of shipmates with peg-legs and hooked-hands. The children gaped and gasped in all the right places.

Phil’s last tale was one about the ghosts of Glummer Caves, that stole the breath out of you should you espy them. There was a rumour that if you ever stood inside the cave, a ghost might follow you all your life and use the least expected moment to take your breath. Phil paused before the punchline, his head forward like a stretching tortoise, his arms and legs akimbo like a cartoon scaredy cat, and then he tumbled gently to the floor. The kids loved it, and after a moment’s silence were cheering and crying for more. They carried on hooting, picking up their swords, as half the parents shooed them from the room and the other half picked Phil’s still body from the floor. With the children safely around the food table or in the garden, the first-aiders laid Phil on the floor, administered CPR, called an ambulance. All to no avail.

At school for the next six-months, Paul’s party was the best to have attended, ever. Clare, while not wanting to rush her baby boy to grow up, did look forward to the day he no longer hankered for birthday parties. It had been hard enough trying to keep up with Joneses, but topping the Glummer Ghosts catching up with Filibuster Phil was inconceivable.

 


 

This week’s prompts are:

  1. covered with glitter
  2. playing pirates
  3. life can end in the middle of a sentence

 

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

Written by Sarah Ann

June 29, 2018 at 9:34 am

OLWG#53 – Men in Suits

with 4 comments

Here is my response to this week’s New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts. As ever, thank you to TNKerr for hosting.

I came up with a sort of story, but a title was harder to pin down so apologies for its lameness.

 

Men in Suits

A corner office in a high rise. Floor to ceiling windows look out over the city. Glass walls on the other side have the blinds down and closed. A pale oak board table, matching chairs with upholstered seats and backs, are the only furnishings.

Two men in charcoal suits. The older, middle-aged, is seated. Jacket undone, his belly bulges in a shirt his wife has been saying is too small for months. He crosses his arms and says, ‘You know what you have to do.’

The younger, mid-thirties, gym junkie, stands looking out. Left hand on hip, the right raised in frustration, maybe supplication. He turns, drops the hand and says, ‘She won’t come.’

‘Use your persuasive powers.’

‘They don’t work on her.’

‘Try.’

‘You want me to call her now.’

There is no need for the older man to nod.

The younger man extracts his phone, places it in the centre of the table. He presses two buttons before the ringing tone fills the room. It rings three times before a female voice answers.

‘Jack, how lovely to hear from you. However, I have to remind you I retired two years ago. I’m not that kind of girl any more.’

‘I said as much to Alec. He still wants me to try.’

‘We need you again,’ the older man says, leaning forward in his seat as if the woman at the other end will see his earnestness.

‘Sorry. No can do Alec. You know me. When I say a thing I do a thing.’

‘Which is exactly why we need you.’

‘Which is exactly why I won’t be coming back. I retired.’

‘You’re the only one who can meet the particular needs of this client,’ Alec says, arms outstretched on the table, hands reaching toward the phone, his body betraying his desperation.

Jack wonders why Alec asked him to call now he’s taken over the conversation. But Maisie wouldn’t have answered if she’d seen Alec’s number calling.

‘I am not the only one with my talents,’ Maisie says. ‘Come on, Alec, you must have picked out someone else by now for special training. I am not unique. It’s as you always say, no one is indispensible.’

Jack squeezes his lips on the smirk that tries to escape. Alec will not like Maisie quoting his own words back at him, and it underlines the fruitlessness of Alec’s pleadings. Jack wonders how long Alec will persist. He doesn’t want to watch his boss squirm, and knows Alec won’t want to be observed as he begs Maisie to return for this one last job. He also knows Maisie is resolute. They discussed it before she left. ‘There’ll always be one last time,’ she said. ‘And after you take the first last job there’ll be another one, and then another. I am out. End of. Not coming back for nothing or nobody.’

Jack misses her and looks forward to the day he decides he’s had enough and he and Maisie can socialise without fear of compromising each other.

‘Look you two,’ he says. ‘I’ve got things to do. I’m going to leave you to work this out.’

Alec looks at him, raises his arms in objection. Jack shrugs.

‘You take care, Jack,’ Maisie says.

‘You too. And remember I love you anyway, even if you are letting us down.’

‘Pah.’ The retort is true Maisie in stop taking the piss mode. ‘See you on the other side,’ she says.

Jack smiles, ‘Will do,’ and leaves the room.

He knows he will suffer Alec’s ire later. He doesn’t care. Maisie is right, Alec should have picked out and trained up someone to replace her. She’s wrong about not being unique. She truly was, but someone could be as equally good and effective at the job, with their own unique flare. As Jack walks through the open plan space to his desk he wonders if it’s time for Alec to retire. He’s been caught out, accepting a job and relying on an old hand to meet client demand. It’s not the first mistake he’s made of late. Jack will have to keep his eyes and ears open, whether for a way out or a way up he’s still not sure.

 


This week’s prompts are:

  1. we need you again
  2. I love you anyway
  3. I’m not that kind of girl

 

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

Written by Sarah Ann

June 7, 2018 at 8:21 pm

OLWG#51 – First Date

with 4 comments

I am very late with the OLWG #51 prompts. The first of which was the one that grabbed me, and I’ve not been able to incorporate the others. I’ve also re-used a character, seeing her from another’s point of view.

Thanks and apologies for lateness to Thom.

 

First Date

‘You are not what I expected,’ I said as I opened the door, which was a stupid thing to say, and rude. What had I been expecting? I’d had no idea when I made the call and didn’t care what she might look like. It wasn’t important. I didn’t speak to her at the time, but a manager who arranged all the appointments and explained all the rules. Still I didn’t expect the gorgeous creature with raven curls at my door, coils like old bed springs arrayed around her head. She didn’t need to do this sort of work. And that was the second stupid thing to have thought within three seconds. What did I know? It was even more stupid to ask her, as I followed her down the hall into the main body of my apartment, ‘What brought you to this line of work?’

She smiled, as if she was asked that all the time, and said, ‘I like people.’

There was to be nothing more I realised. She was guarded, wearing armour to work. Who could blame her? Who knew whom she would meet when she knocked on a door? All the lonely people, as the Beatles sang, who need to pay for companionship. And that is all it is. I love cooking, but eating alone is no fun. Cooking for one isn’t great either. I can’t get the proportions right and end up over-eating.

One thing I love about food is the conversation when you try something new. I can feel the textures and new flavours, but I only have one tongue and set of taste-buds. I want to know what others think and feel and taste. And so I have been using companion escorts since my wife died unexpectedly.

We have friends, I have friends, but we end up having the same conversations, always about my wife. As much as I still love her I don’t want to spend all my leisure time talking about her. And it seems to me my friends are bored of food conversations. They don’t say so, but whenever I try to engage them on the flavour of a new herb combination their eyes glaze, so it’s time for me to chop and change eating companions. Change who they are, not chop them up. Oh dear. I realise her beauty still has me rattled and unnerved and I talk nonsense when even thinking about her. That night I felt jumbled thoughts spill from lips and watched her eyes spin. She must have thought I was. Hell who knew what she thought.

I invited her to sit and ran to the kitchen, focusing on the food in order to calm my racing heart and still my brain. Cook the onions low, fry the spices and chillies high. Stages and order. Cooking is precise and calming, for me at least. I love the bashing of bread and the whisking of eggs, the physical involvement, but that night I needed cerebral, planning and tight guidelines in order to concentrate on what I was cooking and not who I was cooking for.

Afterwards I remembered being in the kitchen and the process of cooking. I remembered carrying the finished dishes through to the table and the smile on her face as she tasted and enjoyed. Conversation flowed easily. We had a lovely time together. But I can’t remember a thing about the food. Whether or not the smoked paprika made a difference to the lamb tagine escapes me. If the raspberry ice cream was better for being mixed with a fork rather than made in an ice cream maker, it completely passed me by. I was captivated and enraptured by her and not my latest tryouts from the weekend supplement. Which is why I’ll be on the phone later to ask for another appointment with Marie. I’m trying something new again. I can’t serve her the same. This time I’ll be more prepared for her beauty and hopefully able to taste my food. I’ll try the tagine and ice cream next time I meet with friends. I’ll enjoy their familiarity, and savour food while they talk about my wife.

 


This week’s prompts are:

  1. You are not what I expected
  2. some myths are prophecy
  3. Tell them what?

 

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

 

Written by Sarah Ann

June 2, 2018 at 5:33 pm

OLWG#50 – Sage Advice

with 8 comments

It always surprises me where a prompt or character can take a panster like me. If I could plan ahead, I’d be more in control of my stories, I’d know when the finish was near, and might even write a decent ending or two.

The below is more backstory than story, and doesn’t really end, but then nothing ever truly ends. Or is that what I tell myself in order not to try harder? And it includes only two of the prompts, so I’m telling myself off.

Thank you to TNKerr for this week’s thought provoking On-Line Writer’s Guild Prompts.

 

Sage Advice

Like every other night of the week, Edward sits alone, looking out at the streetlights, watching his neighbours come and go. Halloween passed with no contact; another Christmas approaches. Too much water has flowed, the blood ties to family diluted to cordial. It hurts that he is shunned and cut off, and doesn’t matter the woman his family dumped him over is also gone. He can’t say he wasn’t warned.

‘She’s one of them,’ his mother had hissed the day he took Maria to meet his parents.

Maria and Dad were in the sitting room, chatting over canapés, while Edward helped Mother with lunch in the kitchen.

‘You have to get rid of her,’ she said with a pinched look, ‘for the sake of the children.

‘Mother, we’ve just started dating. We haven’t even spoken of marriage let alone children.’

‘It won’t work. It can’t work,’ she said, thrusting cutlery at him and pushing him towards the dining room. ‘Mark my words.’

Ed had listened without taking it on board. He knew their country’s history ran deep within his mother’s veins, but the civil war was 200 and more years ago. The petty squabbling of the kingdoms was ancient history to most of the population, unfortunately not to those brought up with a rose-tinted view of the past, albeit a fatalistic one. Mother and Dad might have let go of the traditional monikers of mama and papa, but there was no forgetting Edward was a mainlander and Maria from offshore. Stereotypes and superstitions still ruled his parents’ hearts.

‘What goes around comes around,’ had been one of Edward’s grandmother’s favourite sayings. His mother’s mother that was. On his father’s side things were more open and accepting. ‘Your journey is your own,’ his nona had said the day he told her he wasn’t going to be a doctor. ‘Your parents, your mother, will wail and spit, but you have to make your own way. You are the one living your life.’

Edward had disappointed his parents, his mother, with his choice of career, choosing teaching as something more worthy. His mother had always envisaged a high flying doctor in private practice – the discipline wasn’t important to her. A son who chose to teach the masses was something of a slap. And when he brought home an islander as a prospective daughter-in-law, his mother could see only disaster, and everything she had taught and hoped for being thrown back in her face.

Edward had met Maria at school. They were teachers to the same year group; him Maths, her English. It was easy and convenient and they liked each other from the off. His mother was right in one way; it would have been impossible for them to have children. Their progeny would have hated their parents when they were permanently teased about having teachers at home to help them with their homework, never being credited for achieving anything alone. But it wasn’t to be. Their relationship was fun for a year after the ‘meeting the parents’ lunch, before it fizzled out, both of them deciding they weren’t the other’s soulmate. They remained solid friends, more especially since Maria had moved away to take up a promotion.

Edward’s refusal to give up Maria was the last straw for his mother. There were no more invites to lunch. There was a small, perfunctory Christmas card containing entreaties to return to her bosom. By his birthday, the card was signed, Mama and Papa, with no love or luke warm best wishes annotated, as they clung to a more disciplined and understandable past.

Edward stands, moving away from the window, the street empty at last. His family is lost to him, but he still has Maria’s warmth and friendship. For every loss there is a gain and, as his nona always told him, it is better to spend time with those who love and accept unquestioningly, than to try to live up to the expectations of those who will never be happy.

 


This week’s prompts are:

  1. She’s one of them
  2. your journey is your own
  3. Double jeopardy

 

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

Written by Sarah Ann

May 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

OLWG#48 – Taking Stock – #amwriting

with 5 comments

Thank you to TN Kerr and The New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild for another set of inspiring prompts this week. I’m not sure my story below works, but I had fun running with the second prompt and then incorporating the others.

 

Taking Stock

Dad was a great guy. Or so I was led to believe. I never met him, but I knew a lot about him. Or was told a lot. Mum said he was a champion at tiddlywinks, loved baseball, hated politics, ate all meals with a spoon, could tell a whisky’s country of origin by smell alone, and that he looked a million dollars. Her eyes would twinkle as she remembered what a dreamboat her travelling salesman had been. I wondered how he made his way if he could only eat with a spoon; maybe he never wined and dined clients? He died in a plane crash just weeks before I was born. He was a soldier coming home from the front line, a hero. On other days he’d been a cowboy and there was a family ranch somewhere waiting for me to claim.

I was almost a teenager before I realised my mother was a born liar, and when I did I moved to live with my grandmother, for my sanity and her peace of mind. She described my ever-present-absent father as a ladies’ man from Texas. That made sense: my mother was easily charmed and incapable of taking responsibility for many of her actions. Her relationship with reality was as tenuous and fragile as were her relationships with people. I sound hard and heartless when I’m just old and tired. It won’t be long now before I meet them again, and maybe my pa for the first time. I wonder if our extended family we’ll hang out as a new constellation. Or are extinguished souls randomly allocated to positions in the sky?

 


This week’s prompts are:

  1. Hanging stars
  2. a ladies’ man from Texas
  3. tiddlywinks

 

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

Written by Sarah Ann

May 3, 2018 at 7:15 pm

Posted in OLWG

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

OLWG#47 – Love is not love… – #amwriting

with 4 comments

This week’s New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts guided me to taking my title from the Bard himself.

I’m not at all sure if the below works as a story, and I don’t know where this little character came from, but I’d be happy to meet with her again.

As ever thank you to TNKerr for hosting this challenge.

 

Love is not love…

Susie has never been good at taking orders. She would rather fall over her laces than be told to tie them. She wears her clothes inside out when the mood takes her, refuses to brush her hair, and relishes in being an oik, nutter, dozy cow and other things she is labelled in school. She will never be a plastic. Being different is cool.

Susie knows that without love she wouldn’t be able to be the child she is. Without acceptance from her family that she’ll grow out of it eventually, she would be buffeted by demands to change, demands she would have to ignore. But it’s true to say Susie’s inability to tow the normal line infuriates some members of her family more than others. Grandpa and Grandma give her all their love and let her be. She goes to their nondescript flat in the middle of the block most days after school. She sometimes turns the place into a riot, and her grandparents smile at the attention she brings their way. Because some attention is better than no attention.

When Grandpa opens to door to Susie in her get-up of dungarees and pigtails, he asks if she has come to paint his ceilings. ‘Or is it mufty day at school?’ Susie scowls then jumps into his arms grinning. Grandpa understands her need to be different, her need to be her.

The three of them make hot chocolate, Grandpa, Grandma and Susie. They huddle together in the kitchen and melt 70% chocolate drops into Guernsey milk. They sit around the table and each holds his or her mug with two hands, supping in silence. Later they watch TV and Susie scans the sitting for anything that has changed since yesterday. She will notice a book removed from the bookcase, or a wilting flower. Her observation skills are acute. Perhaps they come from being watched and pointed at all the time. Today her eyes are drawn upwards and soon they are all watching the spider high up in the corner as it spins its web, extending its home. A plastic would jump and scream behind her hands until Grandpa dealt with the monster. A boy might swipe web and spider away. Susie and Grandpa and Grandma sit and watch silk spun into beauty.

When it’s time to go, Grandpa and Grandma walk Susie home, handing her back to her parents in time for an early night. They group hug on the doorstep, five of them stroking cheeks, patting hands, rubbing shoulders, waiting to do it all again tomorrow.

Susie finishes her homework without needing to be told. She cleans her teeth then backcombs her hair before getting into bed. She reads for a little while before switching off the light. A girl needs her sleep if she is to keep up being different. And there are degrees of different, some more acceptable than others.

 


This week’s prompts are:

  1. playing dress-up
  2. watched the spider high in the corner
  3. in the middle of the block

 

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

Written by Sarah Ann

April 25, 2018 at 2:11 pm

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