We stopped for a moment to gather our breath when we spied the old stable door.
“Reminds me of my Uncle Barry,” said Crisp. “Enduring, strong and thick as a plank. He was a stupid man, everyone thought so. He was my dad’s uncle and through no fault of mine, my uncle too. They say you can’t choose your family, and at times I was ashamed to say I was related to Barry. He was ignorant of the world, as my dad used to say, ‘Barry thinks a football coach has four wheels’ so we were always taught to be forgiving of him.
I thought it a godsend that Barry never married. I couldn’t imagine any woman wanting to be married to him, the poor woman would be worked off her feet.”
Crisp regaled me with other hair-raising Barry stories before we moved on.
Crisp, my aged companion, stopped at the gatepost.
“I had a birthday party once,” she said, “it was for my twelfth birthday, and my mother went to a lot of trouble to organise it. We lived out of town in those days, and she organised a bus to bring my town friends out to the farm.
She tied balloons around the gatepost at the top of our drive, and we waited for the bus to arrive.
It arrived with only three of the ten kids we’d invited on the bus.
They said the others had decided not to come.
My mother was devastated. She went up to the gatepost and tore off the balloons.
I was left with a lot of party stuff and three friends.
We certainly didn’t go hungry, as mum did her best to appear keen, but underneath I knew she was seething.”
Written for: https://crispinakemp.com/2020/06/24/crimsons-creative-challenge-85/
I splashed through a few puddles not thinking about anything sticking to my boot, more about my socks getting wet. I dislike wearing wet socks.
I noticed the leaf when I retired for the night and took my boot off.
It was stuck on the tread, just stuck like a wet leaf would be stuck, if you could imagine such a thing.
The next morning I observed it had grown.
Impossible I thought.
But there it was.
By lunch it was beginning to cover my uppers.
It was well and truly attached to the leather.
I noticed a scratching on my foot and found a root protruding through the upper leather and into the boot.
The leaf was taking over.
I told myself I was clearly stuck in the midst of a nightmare.
I tried pruning the growth.
I read up on bonsai.
By dinner time it had taking over al by boot, there was nowhere for my foot to go.
As it was my good boots were being taken over I began thinking of the expenditure of buying a new pair.
It had been a tough month, now an expense I had not anticipated.
By the next morning my boot had all but disappeared into the foliage leaving my other boot looking somewhat forlorn, to say the least.
I sat the two boots together, one looking as a boot should look, the other more a miniature rain forest by the next morning.
Eventually, what was once a boot and was now emerging, as it’s own forest, was moved to the garden where it continued to thrive, and only last week produced the most exquisite fruit. Sweet and tasty with just the slightest hint of leather.
The problem with arriving late at night was you never really got a good feel for the place you were in.
Take for example the village of Katazan in the remote country of Terranova just a little north of the Tropic of Cancer.
We arrived late into the night to be greeted by a hotel with spires under a full moon with strange noises coming from within it.
The doorman had what appeared to be a hump on one shoulder but by morning he appeared to have grown a second matching one on his other shoulder.
He had the creepy habit of appearing at your shoulder just as you thought to ask for assistance and his voice left you with chills down your spine.
The owner of the hotel, Count Flata, though he soon became known as Count Flatulence, for obvious reasons, was a jovial host in an odd and uncomfortable way. There was an air of complete insincerity about him. At any moment you suspected he might turn on you and have you carried off to the dungeons we felt sure filled the spaces below us.
But despite the look and feel of the place we told ourselves enjoyed our visit.
If you took away the ever-present feeling of dread, it was bearable in an almost unbearable way.
I asked the doorman if his humps made life difficult and he looked at me in amazement before uttering in his deep, deep voice that buying suitable coats was a problem. He was also surprised I had noticed. People didn’t normally draw attention to his affliction. After that exchange he treated me with an air of distain and on one occasion spilled Cabbage and Cream soup into my lap.
We left the next day excitedly looking forward to our next stop, Craggy Castle, home of Igor the Werewolf.
For days he had been in a stupor in which he felt himself moving closer and closer to the abyss.
To him it appeared to be the only alternative.
The question was how to get there.
The train had rushed by before he had the strength to jump.
The rope he couldn’t get fixed and strong enough.
The pills had made him sick and he spent the night throwing up.
The voices inside his head kept on telling him to grow a pair and get on with it because until he acted he would continue to wallow in self-doubt.
Cleansing was the word they used. Cleanse your inner self, your soul is tainted with the stain of living, you’d be doing everyone a favour if you sunk into oblivion.
Over the years he’d heard the expression, ‘greater good’, a ‘higher good’. He wasn’t sure what it actually meant, he questioned how death would in any way result in any sort of good for him as he imagined his actions were not going to achieve entry into some glorious after life.
Was there even an after life or would everything just go black?
The voices never made any reference to an after life. They wanted action. They hated the indecisiveness of his dithering. “Its not hard he heard them say.”
But dilly-dallying was what he did. His life had been one indecisive moment after another.
Did his life matter? Would anyone miss him?
How many times had he been told he was a waste of space?
He resolved to give it another go. Living was about mental torment but it was also not such a bad place to be, there was the red haired girl on the corner who ignored him most of the time but who did smile at him once and recognition was hard to come by he told himself. Plus there was the lake and the bush, the birds and the cacophony of sound associated with nature. He didn’t understand any of it but he knew his environment was important.
This wasn’t his first time to resolve to let go of the things he thought were preventing him living. Somewhere inside of him there was a person capable of existing without the pain and anguish he felt so much of the time.
Just get out of bed, have breakfast, and see what happens!