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Lemon Lane

Things haven't changed much in 200 years

By Renessa NortonPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Lemon Lane
Photo by Iga Palacz on Unsplash

Lemon Lane. 1798. A little girl was ignoring her mother’s insistent calls to come along, and instead was dropping pebbles into the stone well set by the side of the laneway, delighting in the “splooshes!” and “splashes!” that followed. A rotund woman rushed out into the road, her large middle still donning her paisley apron, slightly smudged from bleach destroying sporadic pigment in the pattern. She untied a ribbon which was binding cloth together tightly, and a pigeon fluttered out into the daylight, faltering in the sudden shock of sunlight before regaining its ability to simply flap its wings and be off, far away from the world it had just left. The little girl abandoned her mission of filling in the well and instead delighted in the sight, eagerly awaiting the matron’s next magic trick, but when the door slammed shut tight again, she begrudgingly ran to catch up with her ever-patient mother, who by this point had taken a seat on the stoop of a nearby building.

When the girl saw her mother was positioned outside the local store, her eyes lit up, and she silently skipped over, knowing if she dared make a sound, it would surely be a giddy squeak and immediately give her excitement away. So with anticipation clearly in her eyes, she took her mama’s slender hand and pulled her inside the store. They were greeted excitedly by George, the owner of the store which had now been passed down through five generations of his wife’s family. George had known the mother since she was her own daughter’s age, and he had grown to love her like his own daughter, a joy he had never had the privilege to experience. He swept up the little girl who squealed with the exuberance that only a four year old can muster as he playfully jostled her into the air over and over again. He whisked her around the shop as her mother watched on with love in her eyes, glad that her little girl had a grandfather figure in her life, and one much kinder than her own had been.

George flew her around the shelves of the store, much like the pigeon who had so recently rediscovered his freedom outside. They admired all the logos and icons of the products he was selling, before she gleefully reached for a small wrapped bag of sweets. Suddenly overcome by shyness, she timidly looked at George, who nodded with a smile in his eyes before she grasped the package in her hands and pulled it close to her chest and threw her arms around her Papa Georgie. He hugged his girls goodbye and they made plans to have dinner later that same week.

Just then, the buxom woman fell through the front door, screaming in terror; the pigeon she had evicted from her house closely tailing her, pecking and squawking at her head. The little girl cackled at the bizarre sight. The moment the sound erupted from her mouth, the bird ceased its attack and turned its attention to the child, causing the woman to lean against the counter, gasping for breath. The bird darted toward the little girl and George moved to shield her. But the aggression had completely faded from the bird, and it gently perched on her shoulder and rubbed affectionately against her cheek, causing her to squeal with delight. The bird remained stalwart, eyes only for its new companion - much gentler than the last. George reached under the counter and pulled out a small copper cage. And just like that, George’s favourite girl had a new best friend.


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Renessa Norton

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    Renessa NortonWritten by Renessa Norton

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