Archive for childhood

The Thing-Finder

This piece is about a young woman who tells a story from her childhood. I am not sure about the grammar or the use of some of the words, and I have not bothered to revise it, but since I like it, I am posting it anyway. For now, only the story is important.

“I used to find things for my father. You know, like a treasure hunter, but without a mission. He called me The Thing-Finder. I found many things for him over my childhood years and he was proud of me and always let me know how thankful he was for it. Often it was things that he’d lost somewhere, or that he’d forgotten about. Other times it was new things; things that roused his curiosity. Those times we would sit and wonder what it was for, or used to be and how we could use it for something.

Once, when we were out walking and chatting our way through the city streets on an early Sunday morning – having sneaked out before the others had awakened – he said that it would have been nice if we had some money for a cup of tea somewhere. In the middle of his sentence I had spotted something on the pavement a few feet away from us. I dived off in the direction of it, grabbed it, and came back to him, holding my hand up to him showing a £5 note. He laughed with joy, but told me that I could do anything I wanted with it; it did not have to be used for tea. We had tea. And it was a particularly excellent Sunday morning.”

Ghost town misadventures

It was back in ’75 or ’76. The whole neighbourhood seemed like one of those ghost towns from the western films on TV and our normally creative minds had run as dry as the air around us. Breathing that day was exhausting business to anyone. Only the birds were lucky enough to breathe air that didn’t feel like sawdust on fire. The four of us wandered around in the void, aimlessly kicking stones and empty soda cans in front of us until we came to the road by the school. We sat down in the ditch and spied on the few cars that passed by. One of us, I forget who, started rolling marbles in front of the approaching cars, when suddenly one marble bounced up and crashed into the window shield of one of the cars. The air filled with cracking glass, screeching terror, and four deer-like children vanishing through the bushes.

Before I was out of the bushes, the twins and Toby were gone. Heart pounding. Adrenalin, but no air and no legs. A growling ogre in the bushes behind me. I stopped dead in my tracks in front of a small house with a garden by the road. No longer a deer, but a fox, I shed my T-shirt behind the low stone wall, sat down pretending to be as bored as before. Out of the bushes, the ogre charged towards me, stopped and asked if I had seen some boys running this way. I looked him straight in the eyes and told him that I hadn’t. He continued his hunt. Life and all the air returned like the first day of spring. I collected my T-shirt, rolled it up like a ball, put it in my pocket, and slowly walked towards home. I felt like a Sherlock Holmes version of quick-drawing Kid Curry from Alias Smith & Jones.