Tag: Creative Writing

It Still Hurts

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The hospital is dark, only the dimmest of lights flickering. That ever-present hospital smell floats around her like an ominous mist. Walking slowly down the corridor, her right boot squeaks, the sound seemingly amplified in the stillness around her. Glancing down at the offending boot, she takes notice of her clothes, as though she was not previously aware of such things. Her black jeans, tucked into her black boots, feel tighter than she remembers them being. A stark contrast to the baggy summer top under her open plaid shirt that is hanging off her frame.

Walking past the nurse’s station, she glances to her left, the bay is eerily silent. All but one of the eight beds shrouded in darkness, the lone occupant seemingly asleep with an almost translucent light surrounding her. Slowly approaching the bed, she notices how strange it is to see the lady, not in a hospital gown, but her own clothes. Taking in the appearance of the familiar navy trousers and that white shirt with its blue flowered pattern brings a feeling of sentimentality. Leaning down over the bed, she kisses her forehead, tears in her eyes as she pulls a chair forward from behind her.

Bright blue eyes open and meet her misty ones, “You look like my Sophie. But older.” Her voice is so soft and unsure, it breaks her heart.

“It’s okay, you’re just dreaming.” She reaches over for the hand resting on the bed.

“I’m dying.”

She nods slowly, “yes.”

“I worry about you. How you’ll be.”

“I know. I’m fine. I miss you, I always will but there are times where I feel you with me and it is such a strong feeling that I can’t even attempt to brush it off as me just being hopeful.”

“I’ll always be with you, sweetheart.”

“You know, at some point, you told mum that she shouldn’t worry about me because you knew I would be okay…”

“I know you will be.”

“I never thought I would be.”

“We raised you to be. You’re a fighter, whether you want to be or not.”

“It still hurts. I always miss you.”

The grip on her hand tightens, thin fingers wrapping around her palm, “and I you. Always.”

Her head drops to their clasped hands, tears leaking freely from her eyes. She feels a hand in her hair, comforting in a way that is almost foreign to her now, “I love you.”

“I love you too, sweetheart. So much.”

She raises her head, sight blurry as she lays a soft kiss to the hand she holds. A cold hand reaches out and places some fallen hairs back behind her ear, “Tell me about your life now.”

“I’m a social worker. I work with children with similar problems to the ones I had.”

A content smile and a knowing look is her response, a slow nod of the head that she reads as approval, “Married?”

She shakes her head quickly, “No. I couldn’t get past the idea of not being able to walk down the aisle with you and grandad there.”

“We’ll be there. Maybe not physically, but we will be there. It isn’t something either of us would ever miss, sweetheart. Please, don’t let that stop you if you have someone special in your life.”

“Visiting hours are over in 10 minutes, ladies.” A strong voice surprises them from the hallway.

“I think that’s your cue.”

“Yeah.”

“It’s okay. Go. Go back to your life.”

“Love you.”

“I love you too.”

Standing up, leaning over one last time to place a kiss on her forehead, she starts to walk backwards. She keeps eye contact for as long as she can before she’s no longer in her sight, turning to walk back down the silent corridor.

 

 

I was wanting to work on my tenses – and also on writing something that hurts… this is what happened (Part 1 of 2)

Tell Me

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Standing at the bus stop, there’s a strange hue in the air that has her tilting her head and reaching up to clean her glasses. Glasses clean and hue still present, she wanders down the street with curious intent. Turning the corner, she is approached by a couple she recognises, a couple who have been long since gone. A friendly, knowing smile and a polite tip of a hat while he passes her a newspaper is their only greeting. She follows them with her eyes as they move by her and continue on down the street, her eyes only glancing down to the newspaper once they are out of sight.

“Tuesday 8thJuly 2008”

She stands motionless for several moments, blinking at the date. Her eyes move once more to the street in front of her, feet propelling her forward. Looking around and taking in the house in front of her, she comes to the conclusion that this is all just a vivid dream.

The house is in darkness as she stumbles in through the back door. Walking through the kitchen to push open the living room door, her head peaks around it, unsure of what she may be walking in to. The room is full of people, people she recognises. Her aunts, cousins and grandfather are all asleep on various chairs and sofas, in what looks to be the most uncomfortable positions. ’Oh’, she thinks, ‘I know why I’m here.’

Quietly walking through the living room, she hovers near the staircase. The red patterned carpet causes her to become sentimental and tears spring to her eyes. A hand is suddenly loosely around her wrist and she fights back a yelp of surprise, turning to see her grandfather’s bright eyes. “It’s okay”, she tells him, “It’s okay.” His hand leaves her wrist as he nods, a very slight incline granting her his permission to proceed. Her feet start to move her forwards, climbing the stairs much slower than she can ever recall climbing them.

As she enters into the bedroom, her eyes automatically glance to the mirror, startled eyes meet with the warm blue ones reflected back at her from across the room. Making her way into the room and turning to face the figure in the bed, she pauses. Her mind repeating the words she had not so long ago spoken to her grandfather. ‘It’s okay. It’s okay.’

“It’s okay,” the lady’s voice is light and hopeful, comforting in a way that has her feeling emotions she has long since forgotten the strength of. She moves forward, stepping into the light, slowly lowering herself onto the chair at the side of the bed.

She looks up, making eye contact with the lady, her Nanna. Eyes misty, she sees the deep intake of breath and the almost whispered words, “There you are.”

Sitting in the chair, hands in her lap, unsure of what to say in this situation. Wanting nothing more but to reach out and gather her Nanna into her arms, she instead sits motionless. Her Nanna lays there, swallowed up by the huge double bed, an all-knowing glint in her eyes as she smiles and tells her, “I’ve been waiting.” A frail hand reaches over to a pale sweaty one. As soon as contact is made, the tears start silently falling, “I…”.

Taking a deep breath, she starts again, “I got better. I fought hard and worked even harder and I did it.”

“Tell me, sweetheart.”

“I’m a social worker, Nan. I help people who are feeling like how I was feeling all those years.”

“And you’re okay?”

She smiles sadly, “I am…”

“…but? What is it, sweetheart?”

“Losing you. You took a part of me with you. I’m like a jigsaw with permanently missing pieces.”

“Sweetheart. There is nothing in this world that would make me leave you permanently. You’re my Sophie, our bond is much too strong, not even death itself could break it. I will always be with you, somehow. Please, know that.”

“I do know that. I feel it. I’ve always felt it.” She smiles with wet eyes, wanting nothing more than to stay, “I have to go now, don’t I?”

“You do. So do I soon.”

Bringing her hand to her lips, she leaves a kiss on her thin skin before leaning over to place a kiss on her forehead, “Nanny” her voice cracks, “I love you.”

“I love you too, poppet,” and with a final squeeze, she lets her hand go.

She rises, walks to the door, their eyes meeting once more in the mirror before she turns and heads back down the stairs. Her movements are quicker now, a little panicked as she can hear voices, her family are awake. Looking into the living room, she sees nothing but vacant space, the voices travelling through from the kitchen. Walking quickly, she aims to reach the front door without alerting anyone of her presence. As she steps outside and pulls the door shut, she notices a car pull up. Her feet start to move towards it, as though they have their own motivation. As the door opens, a young girl steps out, a terrified look in her eyes. They stand and look at one another for a few seconds, before she moves closer, lays one hand on her younger self’s shoulder before heading back down the street.

Walking back towards the bus stop, she sits down on the seat underneath the shelter. She places her head in her hands and takes a breath, energy suddenly drained. The feeling of another presence is sudden and startling, as she jerks her head up, she is met with stunningly familiar, bright blue eyes, “Mummy, what’s wrong?”

She smiles, content, “It’s okay. Are you ready to go?”

 

 

I was wanting to work on my tenses – and also on writing something that hurts… this is what happened (Part 2 of 2)

 

 

 

Six Weeks

images(https://www.oif.ala.org/oif/?p=9937)

Week 1:

The man in his mid 20’s is presented wearing a stiff white shirt with a bright blue necktie. He sits behind an oak wood desk, the paperwork covering it seems to be placed in even piles as a laptop has been placed to one side, idle.

The sound of a clock ticking in the otherwise silent room is piercing. The two occupants sit across from each other, sizing up who might be the first to speak.

“So, tell me about yourself?”

Curious eyes dart from the window to the eyes of the man behind the desk. There is a head tilt that suggests the man is being judged. Curious, dark eyes dropping to land on the file on the desk that reads: MILLS, Alexander.

“Shouldn’t you already know?”

“I’d like to hear it from you. In your own words, Alexander.”

“Alex.” Dark eyes revert back to the window, looking out at the view of the City.

“Okay. Alex. Do you want to tell me what brings you here to my office?” The man keeps his gaze on Alex, trying to gauge the boy’s reaction.

The following silence is heavy, weighing on the man’s shoulders. He sits in thought, wishing he had forgone the necktie – if only to not feel so constrained.

A buzzer sounds to mark the end of the hour, “same time next week, Alex?” the man says with a sigh. The only response is a lift of one shoulder, as Alex stands and leaves the room without a word.

 

Week 2:

The door opens, a woman with mousey hair wearing a warm cardigan leads in a boy of 17. He towers over her as he passes by and walks through the threshold. His posture straight, eyes determined he walks straight over to the armchair in the middle of the room.

“Good afternoon, Alex.”

“Doc,” Alex replies with a slight nod of the head.

“How have you been since we spoke last week?” The man asks with bated breath.

“Yeah, good.”

“That’s good to hear… what have you been up to since we last spoke?” he prompts.

Alex maintains eye contact as he sits there silently contemplating how much of a reply he wants to give. His eyes trailing to the Doctors collar and tie – it’s a dull red colour today.

“School.” Alex responds with a casual shrug, “that’s pretty much it.”

“You like school?”

“It’s alright. Same shit, different day. The teachers don’t care, why should I, right.” No hint in his voice that his statement is a question.

“What about your friends? You don’t see them outside of school?” The question is asked in such a way, it’s as though he is unsure of how it will be received.

Alex’s gaze shifts and drops to his shoes, “Not really.”

 

Week 3:

The door flies open, banging against the wall as it swings with surprising speed. With a startled jump and a raised head, the man looks up, speechless.

Alex stands in the threshold, face like thunder. He grabs the door and forces it shut, throwing himself in the chair opposite the desk.

“Alex? Is everything alright?” The doctor asks, head tilting to one side, unsure what may have caused such a reaction.

“Why do you do that? Why does everyone do that!? The sympathetic head tilt thing like you understand my life. You don’t even see me! No one sees me. I’m just a number to you, a special case, a “looked after child” whose mother can’t put the bottle down long enough to remember she has a kid.”

“What makes you think… Has something happened to make you think that?”

Alex looks up, eyes dark as he makes shaky eye contact. His lips form a tight line, the tension in his shoulders almost painful as he sits ramrod straight in the chair. Taking a breath to try and regain some composure, Alex returns his gaze to the window. Looking out at the City skyline he speaks, “I got a detention today because I didn’t do the homework and wouldn’t tell them why I didn’t have it.” He scoffs, “Detention. I’m 17, not 7.”

“Would you like to tell me why you didn’t do it? We haven’t discussed your new placement yet, have you settled in alright?”

“It’s loud and busy. Hard to concentrate on anything other than keeping out of people’s way. It’s fine. The best thing for me, right…” Another scoff.

 

Week 4:

“Alex, I want to start straight off from where we left things last week. I’d like you to tell me more about how you’re managing to settle in, in your new placement.”

“Like what? It’s not like if I say I don’t like it, there’s anywhere else for me to go.”

The man leans forward, hands clasped together over the desk, “Are you saying you don’t like it?”

“It’s fine…”

“But…?”

Alex shrugs, “It isn’t home.” His eyes raise to meet the Doctor’s gaze before immediately dropping back down to his shoes.

“Last week, you acknowledged that where you are now is for the best. Do you believe that?”

“No. It wasn’t even that bad, we were fine. We were coping.”

“At home, you mean?”

“Yeah. We had issues but doesn’t every family?” Another shrug, “We had each other’s back. Now we’re both alone. They won’t let me see her. That isn’t the best thing for either of us.”

“Do you know why you aren’t able to see your mum, Alex?”

“She’s in rehab. Cold turkey, right. Treating us like I’m what she’s addicted to.”

“That may change, in time. Once she’s recovered. They might allow you to visit or to phone her. In time.”

 

Week 5:

“How long you been doing this, doc?”

The doctor flushes pink, clears his throat, “I graduated just over 6 months ago.”

Alex doesn’t answer, just sits contemplatively.

“How’s school been going?”

Alex shifts in the chair, “Fine.”

“Care to elaborate?”

“It’s fine. People mostly just leave me to get on with whatever. They don’t bother me.”

“Do you socialise with the other students?”

“They look at me weird. Like I’m damaged or like they might catch something just for being in the same room as me.”

“How does that make you feel?”

Alex looks up, an amused look on his face, lips curling up into a smirk, “Really? You’re going with that cliché?”

Once again, the doctors face turns pink. He laughs, embarrassed to be called up on using such a phrase.

Alex turns his head, observing the landscape. He has become drawn to the view, often getting lost in thought as he watches the clouds move.

“Alex?”

“Invisible. It makes me feel invisible.”

 

Week 6:

The room holds a young man, in his late teens. He wears faded jeans with a short-sleeved shirt, band logo prominent. He sits in the chair that he has come to think of as ‘his’, a small smile on his face. Across from him is a young man, not all that much older, a white, crisp shirt tucked under a grey waistcoat, looking much more relaxed than previous weeks.

“They said I can speak to my mum in a couple of weeks,” Alex explains, smile growing into a grin.

“That’s good news, Alex. On the phone?”

“Yeah, they said she’ll be able to make a call to the group home and then I can talk to her.”

“I can see you’re happy about that.”

“Yeah. This group home won’t be forever. I’ll be 18 in a couple months. School will be over, finally and I can get my own place and when my mum comes home, I can see her again. I can help her.”

“One step at a time, Alex. She may be doing well right now, but it can be different once people try to return to ‘real life’. It might not be as straight forward as you want it to be. What do you want to do when you leave school?”

“I just need to get a job. Like labouring or something.”

“What about college or University?”

“Doc, I grew up in the worst neighbourhood and go to the worst school in our area. Kids like me, we don’t have the same opportunities that kids like you have. I just want a job and my own place. Then everything will be fine.” His gaze once again, only on the clouds.

 

 

Authors Note:
If anything in the above causes offence or does not ring true, it was not intended. I do not know what it is like to be in any of these situations, this is fiction and something I have written to try and practice writing dialogue.
Chloe.

Anxiety is

Anxiety is: not catching your breath
Anxiety is: not wanting to move
Anxiety is: needing to move
Anxiety is: taking sugar in your tea, but not reaching over to lift it from the pot
Anxiety is: shaking so much that the whole world seems to move on its axis
Anxiety is: fingers placed in ears, on eyes, on neck
Anxiety is: digging nails into legs just to have something else to focus on
Anxiety is

 

One Day

You always told me, “One day…”
Trying in vain to prepare me for these days.

In the early days, I notice your hat is still there – I make a mental note to ask if I can keep it,
But then in the blink of an eye – it is gone.

I take your collection of ties without waiting for a better time,
Folding them up neatly in a bag.

I think of the sadness in your eyes whenever you spoke of a family who was long since gone,
Always preparing me for, “One day…”

I never expected ‘one day’ would feel like this,
Never imagined I would understand so accurately that sadness I saw within you.

Weeks later, we are standing outside our house,
We are all here, waiting.

Liz announces the arrival of the hearse with a deafening, “He’s here.”
Nic and I lose composure, eyes dropping immediately to our feet.

I sit in the funeral car, with your daughters – the magnitude of that moment hits hard,
I am the only grandchild in the car and I wonder, does that not speak volumes?

The house is empty,
I am showing prospective buyers around.

They want to change everything – strip it bare and start anew,
I want to drag them out but instead, I just remove myself.

“One day, I won’t be here anymore. You’ll be telling your grandchildren about me like I am telling you about mine.”

 

Silence

…and so she left, with her head held high and tears in her eyes. The footpath was uneven and overgrown beneath her boots, her thoughts focused not on balance but on not looking back. The face in the shadows behind her, one of anger and remorse, a face that she had once known so, so well. To look back would have been disastrous, for she had once promised his mother she would not speak to him in anger. She would keep her promise, even as the worst had happened, even as her heart hurt with the effort to remain silent.  72472c116dcca355bdd8b632f4170917

This is Tradition

…and in the darkness, stood a Christmas tree. The lights from each branch reflected in the eyes of those gathered. The evening was still and calm, and as more people approached, a lull met the atmosphere. The voices of children rose as they gained their confidence. Teachers stood by their side, encouraging, coaching, arms conducting as they moved their arms in time with the words coming from the younger generation…

“It was on a starry night, when the hills were bright
Earth lay sleeping, sleeping calm and still.
Then in a cattle shed, in a manger bed
a boy was born, king of all the world.”

Families with torches shining down on the lyrics in their hands, paper blowing in the wind. Proud fathers and grandfathers with thick scarfs and gloves, ensuring the rest of the family are able to see. Leaning close together, gathering warmth. Smiles bright as they watch and listen to their choir…

“And all the angels sang for him,
the bells of heaven rang for him
for a boy was born, king of all the world.”

The community together as one. This is tradition, of gathering and coming together, surrounded by the ones who light up their lives. Voices that are now louder and more vivid reach the end of their performance…

“Soon the shepherds came that way where the baby lay
and were kneeling, kneeling by his side.
And their hearts believed again for the peace of men,
for a boy was born, king of all the world.”

And as their voices sing the last note, there is music. The live band of local musicians begin to play the next carol. Every member of the community joins in joyfully.

This is tradition.