Vignette #1

Oct. 2nd, 2009 04:57 pm
1imaginarygirl: (Blue Lips)
[personal profile] 1imaginarygirl
It takes me an hour to walk between home and work. I have refined the route over the course of a few weeks, shaving off corners and rounding the edges so my path is smooth and pleasant, traversible on auto-pilot. Part of my route now takes me through a local park.

As I walked through the park today, feeling full of love and optimism, I noticed a conker on the grass. I remembered how my sister and I would gather them as children. We would fill our pockets with the biggest, shiniest conkers we could find and take them home. I don't think we ever actually played the game. The conkers would sit, forgotten and shrivelled until our mum surreptitiously binned them. I used to play outside quite a lot when I was a child, I mused, but would I even recognise a horse chestnut tree now?

I began to examine the different trees in the park. Dog walkers passed me as I stood, contemplating the shapes of leaves. An autumnal breeze brushed my cheek, and it made me think about how much we owe to these plants... The wind, the very air we breathe. I walked slowly over the grass, towards the path that would take me back to the city's tarmac.

As I walked, I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye. Two children. One with the icy blonde-and-blue colouring Hitler so admired, the other with hair cropped like a chemotherapy patient. Both in matching football kits. Both no older than 11. They hurtled down the path, shouting and swearing. I walked over to the holly bush, making sure I wasn't in their way when they came rocketing around the bend.

"Holy shit!" one of them shouted, a girlish bravado - who can say the most swear words before we get home? I didn't pay them much attention. I was examing the holly's berries and leaves, and in my head a jaunty tune rang: The holly and the ivy... when they are both full grown... or all the trees that are in the wood... the holly bears the crown. Then I realised the children were still there, and they were talking to me. Something about a dog...?

I turned around to face them.

"You lost your dog, or something?" the blonde demanded. I realised he wasn't a girl after all, it was just that his voice hadn't broken.

"No," I said with a calm smile "I'm just looking at the trees."

I turned away and continued my examination... I'd just spotted a bramble bush nestled deeply behind the holly bush and I wondered what sort of berries it produced. The boys stayed for a moment before trudging off. I heard them laugh at me, then one made a dismissive comment about how "sad" I was.

I looked at their retreating backs.

"Oh no, my little friends," I said, in the same calm tone, "I believe you are the ones who are truly sad."
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August 2011

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