Monday, April 02, 2007

Just Lily

In later years Lily would say that her legs looked like two pieces of string, dangling down from a dress that was too inadequate for the weather. At the time the legs didn’t notice and continued hanging loosely from the swing that she had not quite grown into, and probably never would.

The adults were whispering again, standing in the kitchen making those large-mouthed silent words in the hopes that she wouldn’t understand. They were also drinking grainy coffee and smoking the fags that made Julie, from next door, sound like Marge Simpson’s sister. Julie only appeared when there was oh-my-God trouble.

Lily stretched out her toe with every swing, trying to reach the stone that was embedded in the middle of the worn patch of grass below her. She knew that if she caught that iceberg rock it would mean blood. Blood, a plaster and a certain hanky produced from a pocket of mentholated sweets.

“You never cry. Brave girl.” grandma said once, dabbing at the nailess horror that appeared from under the bloodied white sock.

“I am saving them,” Lily said “someone else needs them more than me”.

“You’re an odd one,” grandma said, with a sort of smile “you need a brother or sister, you spend too much time on your own.”

Grandma was funny, but a brother, or sister, would be nice. Lily dreamed of having a Stella of her own, or an Alice, or heaven-forbid-a-Michael. Someone who could share her days and someone to keep her company behind the sofa when the shouting got louder than the television.

A Stella would be round and plump and look like aunty Mary’s Fat Louise. Mum said that Fat Louise had a head that was too big for her body but that she would grow into it. Lily didn’t quite understand, but she liked Louises' biscuit stuffed cheeks and the little girl was always smiling. That would be nice.
An Alice would read her stories. Lily liked stories. They took you to other places and let you play around without getting dirty. Mum fussed about the dirt, and bloody socks and messy books. Lily knew that she couldn’t have an older sister. That would be silly, but an Alice would be a clever thing and she would be able to reach those books that Lily wasn’t supposed to touch. Alice would be smarter than a smart thing, unlike heaven-forbid-a-Michael, who would, in fact, be thicker than shit.

Mum said that all men were thicker than shit, but that was before dad had broken her jaw again, because up until today mum hadn’t said much at all.

“And now it will be much better.” mum said, while the kitchen gang smoked another fag.

Lily had listened to the words that removed dad from her life, but the only words that counted were the ones that had stolen the dream.
Now there was never going to be a Stella, or an Alice, or heaven-forbid-a-Michael. It would always be just her.

Just Lily.

Tree sonata

It was not intended to be a joke, but his ramblings were not to be believed. Ramblings that had lost him his wife, son, home and now, almost certainly, his life.
Cold was the water they had pushed in front of him, unpalatable as the grey, dirty rain thudding silently against the bulletproof glass that kept the truth from their ears. He sipped at the re-cycled muck, trying to move the stone that was once again lodged in his chest. Would these people never realise the fatality of ignorance?
"And the trees are telling you this?" sneered a Savile Row pinstripe.
He studied their mean suits and their lying faces, wondering where they kept the velvet blindfolds. Even today they still gave reverent service to the lip, candyfloss words that satisfied the dim, and calmed the bleeding hearted. No one wanted truth to be served on a cold plate.
The rain never stopped now. A constant, miserable echo of life unsupported. As the world came undone, he had fled. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide from the man-made holocaust that now squatted on a surprised world . The music had stopped, but for three years he had nurtured these last remaining trees, appointing himself shepherd to a flock whose feet were already beset by the rot of humanity.
Now the earth was audibly crying, a last lament for stupidity, tears for wanton disregard. He picked up his instrument for one last sonata.
(photo courtesy of Robert ParkeHarrison)

Tree Sonata first appeared on The Inner Minx - HERE