Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction
Those two menial words that would end up dragging up the dregs of the past, like a mountain bike pulled reluctantly from the river bed, smothered by twenty years’ worth of mud; bruised, unwelcome and better off forgotten.
“Who’s that?” Stephanie, still scrambling around on the floor with her head still buried, holds a black and white picture at arm’s length behind her, making sure I get a good look. Oh bugger.
“It’s just an ex-boyfriend of mine.” I shrug off, looking around for some vintage heirloom to distract her. She knows perfectly well I don’t know a lot about my real family, well, my biological family and can always be found poking around in the back of wardrobes or running up a bill on ancestry.co.uk trying to find out. I suppose I can’t really blame her, another set of Grandparents means more gifts under the tree, but if I don’t care, I don’t see why she should.
However, here we are, knee deep in history, stumbling around the attic guided only by the faint autumn light outside. Piles and piles of carelessly arranged boxes sit crooked with the six year promise of being unpacked. Every step interrupts more sleeping artifacts of a life pushed aside; an unused hockey stick, framed paint by numbers and the collars of sweetly remembered pets, all without a space in the world I have now but still far too precious to leave behind. Then there’s the ‘just in case’ section; fold-up chairs, an industrial-size torch because of course, up an exhausted latter into the attic would be the best idea in a power cut and a moth eaten, yellowed wedding dress… yeah, just in case.
Stephanie, who checks under her pillows every night for spiders, emerges from underneath a mountain of cardboard, cobwebs hanging off her eyelashes and coated in a thick quilt of dust. “Boyfriend? Really? Then who are the babies?” She raises her eyebrows at me, accusation dancing all over her face.
“I can’t remember, it was a long time ago. Let me see.” I make a grab for it but she moves swiftly behind stacked memorabilia. I daren’t pursue her out of fear of disturbing one and becoming drenched in Skegness postcards, haunted photographs and our Great Uncle Erwin’s teeth.
“The back says 1970 I think… That’d only make you two years old” She squints at the writing, the afternoon light fading, slowly dissolving the memory, “And judging by the fact that it isn’t a mug shot, that couldn’t have been your boyfriend.”
“Oh Stephanie, will you shut up please? These boxes aren’t covered in dust because they’re treasured you know.”
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