31 MARCH AC (AFTER COVID)

31 MARCH NGO (NOT GOING OUT)

Thank you to everyone who has signed up to follow this blog. It’s great to know I have some readers.   I have been blogging for a long time but I have never in all these years had so much interest in my writing. Maybe it’s because there is very little interest in poetry (My Life in Poems, as you may have worked out, is mainly poetry) but more likely because you and I are in the same boat.

SAH – stuck at home. NGO – not going out. MGC – missing grandchildren. FUTTT – fed up to the teeth

Today, by way of a change, I am going to post a short story I wrote recently. (Don’t go away!) I originally posted it online as an ultra short piece of flash fiction. Helen (hello!) in my writers’ group suggested I lengthen it. So I did. It was written about a month before the world went locked down – locked in would be more apt.

Hope you will want to read it and please do let me know what you think. I will be back to blogging tomorrow. After all, I’m not going anywhere!

The past is another country

“Mummy,” said eight year old Tommy, pointing to a picture in a book.

“What’s that?”

The picture showed a couple in a close embrace.

“It’s a kiss.”

“What’s a kiss?” queried Tommy.

“It’s something people used to do long ago.”

“Why don’t do they do it anymore?”

“Well, way back in the olden days when there were more of us in the world, there was a virus that killed millions of people.  To prevent the virus spreading, everyone had to stop kissing and touching, shaking hands …”

She closed her eyes for a moment. Yes, she could just about remember what it felt like to be kissed …

Tommy interrupted her reverie with another question, “What’s shaking hands?”

“It was another form of touching. A way of saying hello and goodbye. People used skin contact to show they loved and cared for one another.” His mother tried to remember what touch felt like. Tentatively, she reached out and touched her bare arm with her fingers. “Like this.”

Tommy picked up his teddy by the foot and enthusiastically threw him up to the ceiling. “Ah – just like I do with Bodger!” he said happily.

“That’s right,” said his mum, thinking how painful memories still could be.

“Mummy,” said Tommy again, “What’s this?”

He had turned the page and there was an illustration of a mother holding a baby.  The infant was cocooned in a shawl and the mother was gazing down in wonder and adoration. It reminded Tommy’s mum of pictures of the Virgin Mary she had once seen.

“It’s getting late, Tommy,” she responded by way of an answer because she had no answer to give him.

Tommy had picked up Bodger and was mimicking the picture he had seen, holding the teddy in the crook of his arm as if it were a new born baby.

His mother decided that they had been talking long enough and she touched the screen to turn it off.

Tommy faded away.

She would talk to her son again another day – the next time it was their turn to chat.

 

Thanks for reading this.  See you tomorrow! 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

 

 

 

 

 

 

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