I’m a nurse, mother and house renovator, one of those is begrudgingly. And I love words, big words, small words, obscure words and the way they can captivate, send you somewhere you never thought you’d go. Like magic.
They burned the witch
Margrette languished atop the pyre with its blistering flames already lapping beyond her knees, the stubble remnants of her hair were smouldering, her clothes had long become ashes in the wind. The delirium borne purely of searing pain, delivered kindly to her, her mother’s voice and once again she was six, picking dandelion and foxglove and wormwood and sage. It was better that her mind went there than remain in the present but even the sweetness of memory could not protect her.
The Summer of ‘23
It was a stinker. The air shimmered above the tin roof, the grass was crunch dry and the birds along with the dog, were panting. Mary squealed with delight with each of her gangly sashays across the sprinkler which brought deliberate sprays of water and mud increasingly up to her knees. Mary was too young to remember what happened in the summer of 2019, the summer that saw more than half the country burn to a crisp. Too young to remember the scorched landscape with all the horror it contained. Mary just knew that it was hot and the sprinkler was cool and fun. Mary was five.
I was part way through my piece for a big challenge and I developed writers block. I couldn’t think of one more way to develop the story so I decided to put the whole thing aside and do some practical non writing things like eating and laundry and going to work. This may have been my downfall or my lottery and I was gambling with what was turning out to be a decent albeit half finished story.
This was quite truly a different era and I’ve never understood why people wrap their stories in context until I thought about what transpired that day. I was twenty. The gulf war was looming. Fear mongering was rife about a people and a culture significantly foreign to most of us. The word “islamophobia” was added to the dictionary.
Someone once told me that an old Turkish curse was to wish someone “interesting times.“ Someone also penned, and I forget who, that the world is robust but we are not. That we do not need to save the planet for she will survive in whatever form she does, that it’s us who need saving because we, as a species, will not.
These fractures carry me or maybe I carry them but nevertheless they still reside in my head as I sip on the very drink that became the befouling Picasso on our loungeroom wall; the very drink that heralded the one sided attraction and inevitably, my spiral into a type of cloistered oblivion.
He came again, with his slick black hair, ill fitting suit, pen at the ready to jot down anything he thought useful in his well worn little black book. He came with questions. Not the sort I liked to answer to a stranger but he was nice enough, even jovial and the dog liked him.