Purple Fields #3LineTales

three line tales 235: a lavender field at sunset

The heady scent of lavender sent me to my sleep. I dreamed I was waking through fields of the purple flowers. My fingers brushed the delicate blooms and their scent swam around me. Bees buzzed by and birds sing from the trees whilst above the sky was pink and orange, the sun just a smear. I could stay forever in this dream.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2020/07/30/three-line-tales-235/ with thanks).

Three To Dance

kazuo-ota-73sT1mSrdWk-unsplash

The conjoined triplets waited for the signal to come onto the stage. They had longed for this moment since the dance teacher had told them she had made a part for them.

As the lead ballerina finished and the audience broke into clapping, the conjoined triplets stepped into the light.

Olde Sweet Shoppe

candy-shop-1323319

I’d had the dream since a child but what child didn’t dream of owning their own sweet shop?

Things for me though had just fallen into place like it was meant to be my fate since birth. Or maybe, I just got lucky?

My uncle had a general shop which had been his father’s corner shop in the forties. The general shop sold everything you could want and things you didn’t know you needed. The stock was often seasonal and local; milk from the farm down the road, autumn apples and cider, flowers from Mr. Langes’s allotment and tools from the town’s smithy.

I always remember the smell when I entered, announced by the Victorian bell, it was a strange mix of pipe tobacco, freshly baked bread and sickly sweet ice buns, varnished wood and newspaper ink.

The sight was always one of a packed room and colourful packets and many objects placed around. It seemed you might get lost in a maze of goods and the placement of things made little sense as there was no direct order. You could find washing up liquid next to tinned peas, hair brushes next to carrots etc.

My cousins worked in the shop and I’d hang around with them. We’d take some fruit or sweets or crisp and pop and go out to play. Why didn’t they have to pay for things? I asked them. If we only take a few things it’s never noticed, came the reply.

The golden years of childhood in the seventies and eighties faded. I entered the adult world as did my cousins and we kept in touch. I moved away, moved back, did random jobs and had many relationships.

I saw the post online one evening, alone in my rented apartment. My cousins were closing the shop. I sent one of them a message to ask why and it was a simple answer; too much money being lost and no customers. It was the fate of all small shops now.

I had written back before I had given it any real thought; could I rent the shop from you and start up a sweet shop? 

I don’t know, she typed back, I don’t want you to end up in the financial issues we are facing. 

Quickly tapping on my laptop keys I answered, I understand, please let me give it a try.

Reflecting on the past and how things came to be is difficult but also interesting. I smile as I stand behind the polished counter and serve child after child, adults and families who are constantly returning and bring a new wave of people with them.

The shop no longer smells like it did before; it was cleaner and sweeter now. There are shelves bottom to top across three walls and one of those is behind my counter and the pick ‘n’ mix selection. The floor is open to the crowds and the window display is a rainbow of bright colours and calling temptations.

My cousins can’t believe I was able to turn things around for their family business. They’ve helped me a lot and we work alongside each other to keep this little shop going.

I’m on the internet too which has become my main source of income. I ship to anywhere and import too. American candy and Japanese snacks are my highest earns. It’s hard work and I don’t get a break but I love it and it’s like where I’m meant to be.

New Life

bronx-321190_1920

In Iraq, Abida had had a nice house. It had been large and airy, with enough space for her seven children and her parents and her husband’s grandmother to all live happily together. They’d been well off. Not rich but enough to have the house with a garden and to pay the wages of a servant or two.

Now, the house like their lives was nothing but rumble. Behind in the dust they had left the newly buried bodies of her husband’s grandmother, Abida’s father and her youngest two children; three month old Fatima and two year old Shakur.

They had been in the house when the bomb had dropped and now they were in the cemetery with their other passed relatives. Her husband’s parents who were living in the house next door with his sister and her family had all died too.

Leaving had been the only chance of survival they had. For the next few years, they had travelled and past through camp after camp and country after country. Abida’s husband, Maijd, wasn’t sure where was best to move his family to. Abida’s mother had suggest many places but finally Maijd had decided on the England.

It had been a trail and taken a toil which caused Abida to have a miscarriage, but finally the family got in England and were moved into a council apartment above an empty shop.

Abida hated it. There were three small bedrooms, a tiny bathroom, a living room and kitchen. The rooms smelt like the Indian takeaway restaurant a few shops down and also cigarette smoke. There was a handful of furniture including; a sofa, a double bed, one bunk bed and two single beds. It was the total opposite of Abida’s home but far better then the tent they had shared in the last few years.

‘How can we all fit in here?’ Abida asked her husband.

‘We shall make do. The woman said this bed pulled out…’ Maijd trailed as he took the coverings off to look at the sofa bed.

‘I’m not sleeping on that,’ Abida’s mother snapped, ‘I shall take one of the bed’s in here.’

‘Then, Bibi share that room with your grandmother,’ Abida said.

The eighteen year old nodded and took her and grandmother’s things into that room.

‘Kadeem and Hayfe can have the other room for now,’ Abida directed her youngest son and daughter, ‘Tarek and Tamir will have that bed,’ she finished with a look at the fifteen year old twin boys.

The family had settled in as best they could and with hope from Maiji that this was only for now and soon they would have a suitable house. Meanwhile, the children started school, finding it difficult with the little English they knew, Maiji searched for a job and Abida and her mother kept the apartment and looked after everyone.

A month or so later and the only change was that Maiji had found a job at a food shop. There seemed no chance of the family moving again soon which as Abida put her hands on her tummy, wasn’t ideal but at least her family were finally safe.

Bed And Ted

jeff-siepman-Dx2aJWAf2wg-unsplash

Bed is my heaven, its the place I love and I can’t think of anywhere better to be with Ted.

Sink

Morning Mist 2

I hadn’t know what to expect, that summer had felt like a life time ago. As I came to the bank of the lake, I saw a small boat half sunk in the reeds. The breathe caught in my throat. It couldn’t be the same boat from last year.

I made my way over. Nature had grown back but the pathway was still there. Something waved at me in the overgrown grass and I looked down and saw some rubbish. Moving closer though, I saw it was faded police tape.

Forgetting to breath, tears pricked my eyes and a mix of emotions rained down. Memories swamped my mind but I forced them back. It was still to surreal to think about them.

Going on, I made it to the boat and though I’d hoped it wasn’t the same, it was. The boat was a single seater, for two people but more like two children. The oars had gone and water lay dirty in the bottom.

She would sink if I took her out, though it might be a struggle to move her as she looked stuck fast to the mud bottom of the lake.

We had moved her once though. One too hot, bright summer’s day when the sun reflected on the glowing water and nature called for us to enjoy her beauty. The two girls had got in wearing bikinis and we, three boys, in our swimming trunks, had shoved the boat off then tried to scramble in too.

The girls had pushed us away, laughing that there was no room. We had splashed water at each other. The sun had shone through and sparkled the falling spray.

I had swam away, loving the coolness on my warm skin. I left them playing, their voices growing distant. I floated, thinking like all teenagers that this summer would last forever. Each day would be golden and never ending.

Loud splashing and screaming broke through my drifting. I looked back and saw the boat had tipped over.

I swam back, laughing alongside them and helped them to right the boat again.

‘Where’s Levi?’ Louise asked, her brown hair turned dark by the water.

‘Properly getting ready too -,’ Jake began then jumped on her and began tickling her.

‘Really though,’ Betty spoke, she had climbed back into the boat and was twisting her red hair dry.

I trod water and looked around for him. I didn’t see him. Diving under the water, I looked and saw little in the disturbed mud view.

‘Where is he?’ Betty asked me as I came up.

Shaking my head, we looked around. Betty called over to Lou and Jay to stop and they did so. The lake settled around us and we looked around for Levi.

‘Dive down again, John,’ Betty said to me.

I did so and this time felt around more then looked. I spotted Jay doing the same though the cloud of discolour and floating things. Levi didn’t seem to be there.

We rose to the surface again, dragging deep breaths in. We reached for the boat and clung to it. Betty had helped Lou climb back in and they had been looking on the bank to see if Levi had got out.

‘I don’t think he would have done without us noticing him,’ I said.

‘Then go back down again!’ Lou cried.

Jay and I did, going deeper and further then before. My fingers brushed something and I grabbed it and pulled. It didn’t move. I came up and tried to keep my feet on it’s place but I couldn’t.

I waved my arms and got the girls to row over. When Jay popped up he joined me and together we dived down and pulled Levi up.

We all dragged him onto the boat and then hurried to the shore.

Someone called for help whilst we tried to wake Levi. One of the girls did CPR and Jay ran for help. Then nothing began to make sense. It was like I had left and wasn’t taking things in anymore.

People asked me to do things or to answer things and I did so.

They took Levi away under a white sheet and we were all driven home in towels, holding our bundled clothes.

At his funeral, I thought it was dream, how could my best friend be gone?

He had though and that summer turned to black, the lake washed all the gold out of my life.

Watermelon

summer-1572433

Watermelon summed up summer with it’s brightness and freshness. It was better then any other fruit and more refreshing then oranges. We joked about melons growing inside of us as we swallowed the seeds, red water juice dripping off chins and fingers. The rind we give to the dogs to chew on, they too loved watermelons and we’d get back to our play.

 

Dear Diary

journal-2850091_1920

Dear Diary,

It’s been over hundred days since I went into isolation to protect myself. From my window, I have watched the busy streets of Manchester city centre slowly empty and then become almost bare. The streets are filling up again now. Cars and buses on the roads, people hurrying to work or going shopping and the homeless huddling down where they can.

In the rain, umbrellas crowd and bash together whilst the rain washes the dirt away. I love the sound of the rain dripping off the pipes and tapping against the window. When the window is covered in rain drops it reminds me of being in an underwater world and looking out at the above space.

My doorbell rings and I go to see who it is. A delivery! Getting the box and setting it down sends a thrill of excitement through me. Of course, I’ve been ordering things off the internet a lot more then I did before. Mainly that’s because I’d go out and buy stuff but also, I’ve been getting things to help me pass through the time.

In the box is; two novels, three dvds, a large cross stitch of a white tiger and a colouring book.

I place everything on the coffee table, look through them then place them in their new homes. I put the box out for recycling.

It’s lunchtime. There’s lots of choice for me to pick through. I’ve been getting a food box once a week, other people have also been sending me things and I’ve got a shopping delivery date sorted for once a week. Food and other supplies are not in shortage here.

The problem is I don’t feel like eating. I pat my stomach and wait to feel hungry, but I just don’t. I feel sad and pointless. I make soup but only eat half of it then I curl on the sofa and watch TV but I can’t focus on it so instead I go to sit by the window with a book and listen to the rain whilst I read.

It’s just another day in lock down.

Waking Up

summer-morning-1218009

I woke up as sunlight kissed my bare skin. I yawed and rolled over in a strange bed. My eyes focused on the view before me. The floor to ceiling glass windows and doors, led to a balcony and beyond there, the sun sparkled on the crystal waves of the sea.

I threw the white satin sheet back and walked to the door, I opened it, slide if back and stepped out into the warmth. The sea lapped below me, the sun played across the golden beach and I remembered then where I was.

 

A life Of Stories

batch-1867552_1920

It was a grim task but I had volunteered to help my family clear out a distant relation’s home. I hadn’t know Bill Dalton existed until a second cousin of my mum reached out and told her that his uncle had died and he knew my mum was an antique dealer. Did she want to come and do a house clearance?

Bill had been an organised hoarder so the task of going through things wasn’t that hard, just long.

Whilst my mum and her second cousin were inspecting a collection of figurine women dressed in 1800’s ballgowns, I decided to open a corner cupboard that had yet been touched.

The door creaked like it hadn’t been opened in awhile. Inside, stacked on the small shelves were pile and piles of notebooks. There was a range of leather, paper and hardback covers all looked well use and the lined sheets yellowing. The notebooks were all tied together string in small groups. It was a strange sight.

‘What’s all this?’ I called over my shoulder.

My mum and her second cousin came to look.

‘I don’t know….’ he trailed.

‘Pull one out,’ my mum said.

I pulled the smallest stack of notebooks out and undid the string around them. Picking up the top one which was like a hardback diary, I opened it.

‘It looks like a novel…’ I said.

I handed it to the second cousin then passed another one to my mum and gripped a third for myself. We read quietly for a few moments.

‘I didn’t know him well,’ the second cousin broke the silence , guilt and sadness in his voice.

‘It looks like this is a whole novel, handwritten and with corrections at the sides,’ my mum muttered.

‘Are all of these novels? Surely he didn’t write these, maybe he copied them or translated them or something?’ I said.

‘I don’t think they all are. Look at those, they say diary with the years.’ the second cousin pointed out.

I pulled out that stack, untied them and picked up the top one. He was right, it was a diary and each day page was carefully filled in.

‘Do you think there’s anything important in these?’ I asked.

‘I don’t know,’ the second cousin said, ‘do you think you could go through them and find out?’

‘I’ll try,’ I said.

All of the notebooks turned out to either be yearly diaries which Bill had recorded his life in, full novels which Bill himself had written, short stories, ideas and drawings, reflections on things and details of locations and characters.

There was a lot to go through but none of it was important paperwork. I didn’t want Bill’s life to fade and so with the family’s permission and years of work; I finally held one of Bill’s officially published novels in my hands.

I hope he is pleased.