Saturday, 26 January 2013

Short Story: Place

by Charlotte Knighton


They walk down the road, young and yet completely sure of themselves; this, after all, is a route they have walked for the best part of they’re lives. Yet today there is an air of excitement, tinged with just a little sadness, about them. They both know that this will be the last time they walk together down this road. One of them is leaving.

She wants to be sad and she knows that will come later and it will be worse than it has been before, in those brief times she has allowed her self to think about her new school, but she is too excited, anticipating the day ahead.

They cross the road and head down their favourite part of the daily walk. The road before they catch a glimpse of the school. It turns in only one place so is perfect for when they want to cycle fast and race each other. They slow past a broken down, rickety fence. It didn’t used to be broken down but having races has its hazards and the fence isn’t the only casualty of their manic races. They bend down and inspect the scratch of purple paint that still adorns the rotting wood of the fence. Like a smear of blood, the wire cutting into to the wounds of the fence, many of the wounds inflicted by us. They exchange jokes about the other's clumsy cycling and move on down the alley of houses and trees.

They run down the pavement. To some this may seem an odd thing to do, but the girls love the undulating feel as they fly along it. They seem as weightless as ghosts, gliding along sure footed, until one of them trips and nearly falls over, but is caught just in time by the other. They stop running as the pavement ends.

This is where they meet their friends to complete the walk together. Normally both are impatient for the others to arrive, they are always first, but today they seem to enjoy the few minutes of quiet and solitude. One seems to be looking around her more as if trying to fix everything to memory.

The ditch. She mustn't forget the ditch they spent many a morning trying to cycle down with varying degrees of failure. That ditch holds several blood stains, long soaked into the earth, but still, a part of her is in that ditch and she can feel it. Around it are rocks stood like sentinels, their uniforms once white but now a greying brown colour, trying in vain to keep the flood of children out.

The blossom tree. She mustn't forget the blossom tree they would pick flowers from in the spring, its beautiful blooms spreading out over the path like a fan of fallen soldiers, felled by a breath of wind. Rich pickings for adorning your bag or uniform, as we so frequently did while waiting, although today, we just sit and look.
  The house with the beautifully kept lawn, pristine even in the hot summer weeks when most other lawns are yellow and dying. She never touched that lawn, not wanting to intrude upon the splendour, feeling that it should never be disturbed by a mortal being,  that surely some pixie or sprite must tend to it. No, the lawn must not be forgotten.

The metal bicycle gates. She mustn't forget the metal bicycle gates. She remembers the euphoria of finally beating them and navigating a safe path through this most heinous of obstacles, not being tossed into the nettle patch by the cold, unforgiving touch of those gates.

Ah… the nettle patch. She cannot forget the nettle patch. It has left its marks on her skin too often to be forgotten. Although she does not yet know it, when she walks down this path in many years to come, she will still give this old patch of nettles a wide birth.

And finally the last thing that can never be forgotten, the most crucial of all, that will be remembered in her future life. She looks across the fields to where her school is just visible, protruding above the spiked gates, looking more welcoming than ever before. But is that not always the way? It's when she leaves a place, only then does she appreciate the many layers of beauty fitting together, like a puzzle made of thoughts, memories and experiences, to create a place so perfect it shocks her to the core. Yes, only when she is on the verge of leaving does she realise what she will miss.


1 comment:

  1. I really like your writing, its really well thought out:)


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