8.11.2013 Journal Prompt

IMAG0962August 11, 2013: He liked his stories.

10 Replies to “8.11.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. He liked his dad’s stories of what they had done together; he always liked them. They grew arms and legs in the retelling and turned giant cartwheels through the house. Big as adventures, every one.

    Even simple things, like walking the dog, and the thrown ball was a grenade that they could never get rid of and at any running moment it might explode, and almost but never did. Or walking to the shops, and they had to get there before five, not because that was when it closed, but at five the streets shifted and the buildings moved around and the misplaced shop was lost then.

    And clouds were messages from an Indian with a small fire and a blanket, and they’d seen something of the like on the tv and the Indian sent shapeless smoke signal messages and dad said it was the same as when gran sent a card every birthday and the envelope was always crumpled and a crumpled ten pound note inside the card and the writing on the front of the envelope like scribbles in ink and the postman was specially trained to read such code. And his dad read the clouds the same way people read books and whole stories unfolded and chased after them.

    And in the park, on the swings, they were both airline pilots with stiff sounding names and his dad talked funny then, with the cup of one hand over his mouth, and he called the boy ‘Red Leader’ and there were damned mosquitoes on their tails. And they jumped off the swings when they were still flying and once the boy hurt himself in the fall and his dad later told the story of Red Leader, crashed and burned. And he made the noise of a plane diving and then a silence and then a great wave-the-arms-in-the-air explosion.

    And a test for the boy in the bath, to see if he was worthy, and he had been covered in honey by jungle tribesmen and set free in a place where ants were and the ants with sharp teeth and a taste for honey, and it was a race to get himself washed clean, every small nook and cranny of his honeyed-skin, before the biting ants found him.

    And lying in bed, and he had to lie quiet, and stars on the ceiling of his room and the sound of the sea when the sea is only whispering, and check for water by his bed, and check for gloves in case it was cold in the night, and check for a compass to find his way back home after dreaming. And he closed his eyes, and his dad talked him into sleep.

    He is older now, the boy. And his dad is shrunk and grey and sits in a chair and never speaks. He visits his dad once a week and the nurses know him by name and nod and smile. He sits close enough he can hold his dad’s hand in his and he reads to his dad from a book he brings with him. And he reads it like his dad once did, his voice all singing and dancing and jump. But his words are like shapeless smoke-signal clouds that the cowboys could never read and his dad no longer talked the language of clouds.

  2. Who wouldn’t want a Dad like this man! His son may not know what his presence means now as he reads to his father – but he is there, and that is all that matters. Very touching ending. Makes you cherish having your wits about you this day. Oh, and Lindsay, if you are a Mom, I bet your kids love your bedtime stories!

  3. I don’t know, Susan. I think I’d find the dad in the story just a bit too much. 🙂 Thanks for reading this and for saying such lovely things. Yes, and I too worry about not having my wits about me one day… I sometimes lose words and they stay lost for days, till I find them by chance, tucked under cushions where I had hid them.

  4. Cynthia
    Just read your book stall story. That’s a nice set up you have with Sy and Mr Z. Feels like a first chapter of something bigger, like there’s a big something that will happen and will need Sy’s goodness to put it right. It was a lovely read. Thanks.

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