8.8.2013 Journal Prompt

Image from Billy Elliot
Image from Billy Elliot

August 8, 2013: We pretended we could fly.

3 Replies to “8.8.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. Me and Julie and Col, walking tip-toe tall and our heads held high and adding inches and years to what we were. And Julie said she’d marry me or Col one day, if we asked her. And Col made a sound like being sick, like there was not a good taste in his mouth.

    Mams and Das we played, on the slumped steps at the back of her house, and Julie made strong tea that had no weight in her hands when she poured it, and I pretended to be going out to work in heavy boots, dancing it looked like, and a bit piece in a box for my lunch. And Col was our sulky lad and he folded his arms and said he wanted to go to work, too, and if that wasn’t happening then he wasn’t playing.

    And we smoked candy stick cigarettes with sweet red tips leaning up against the side of the pub, and we swore like old men and spat in the street, and Julia was a better spitter than Col, and Mrs Hardman said she’d tell my Mam what I said and what I did.

    And we pretended we were flying, our arms spread wide in a Spitfire sky and swooping like swallows from one side of the street to the other and ‘dega-dega-dega’ and Mrs Hardman and her two kids were dead. And the circles we drew in the road were breathless loops in the air and we flew all the way to the park, even though the day was dark and grey.

    Then on the swings and we were flying for real, as high as swings dare, until the force of flying upwards felt the tug of gravity and the chains went slack a little and we were falling then, which is only flying without the control. And Julie laughed, her hair behind her like a flag, then over her face, then behind her again.

    When Col went in for his tea, and the day gave way to quick night and shadows were bold, me and Julie held hands where no one could see. And she asked me if we’d be married one day, in a church, with flowers and everyone wearing smart clothes, and her Da giving her away.

    And Col could be our real sulky lad, I said.

    And Julie laughed and she kissed me, and it wasn’t like Mam-kisses, the pink tip of her tongue in my mouth, and that felt like flying, too – the giddy soaring and the world all upside down and the breathless spinning of Spitfires shot and diving and the chains on the swings slack and falling.

    Julie said she loved me then, and I said I loved her back, and we lay on the cool damp grass, still holding hands, and we counted stars like counting silver sixpences, and we made our thought-wishes into words spoken in whispers, and bats cut across the thrilled night sky.

    And we are grown now, and not married or together, and life is a lot harder than we ever could have imagined, and my boots really are heavy and going out in the morning is not like dancing at all, and Col wishes now he didn’t have to go to work, and I hold my arms out from my sides sometimes, but it never does feel like flying. And that night, that Julie-and-me kissing-night, and that star-counting moment with bats in the air, well, that is a shiny memory that I still keep in my pocket for when it is too dark to see.

  2. Thanks again, Susan, for reading and for finding something beautiful in what i have written. I hope you have a shiny penny memory of your own.

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