May 6, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is a snapshot of spring. I realize that some Rough Writers are riding into autumn, and I hope this isn’t a disadvantage to focus on a season we are not collectively sharing. We could think of it as “spring eternal.” Warm, renewing, new life, hope.
This is the latest prompt from Charli Mills. The list – warm, renewing, new life…. and then hope. Not certainty. Just hope. A time of year to be wary of, to take the good bits and be ready to duck and dive around the rest. To enjoy the warmth on one’s neck but have a collar to turn up if the east wind blows.
As a youngster, from 15 through to 23 this time of year was pretty much shit. The trees were budding, the grass turning green, layers of clothing being shed and the day bookended with daylight rather than gloom. And I was stuck indoors, revising. May bank holidays were some sort of sick joke – just another day on the wall chart that said 8.30 to 12.30 Maths; 1 to 4 French/Literature; 5 to 7 History; 8 to 12 Whatever I’d forgotten earlier.
Going for a piss was a treat, a break from the dullest of routines. Slowly, methodically washing each finger and inspecting my nails, just to eek out the time away from my desk. My brain felt like both a French Goose’s liver and a used condom at the same time; my arse lost its contours; my back mimicked a pretzel.
I actually told myself I enjoyed revising, because I knew it would pay dividends. And it did in many ways; as training for coping with unending hours of boredom it was the prefect preparation for both working as a lawyer and undertaking a long stretch in prison, whichever career path I finally decided to pursue.
Why is this the most effective way to test the adolescent mind to determine his or her fitness for further education? Was I a better historian for sitting and learning by rote the principle achievements of David Lloyd George? Was I a better person? A better employee? At what point does a knowledge of Lloyd George’s 1909 People’s budget help me today? On quiz night? When my own children are put through exactly the same meat grinder as I went through? It helps my sense of self; it reinforces a certain arrogance I try and suppress that somehow my knowledge of Edwardian fiscal politics makes me somehow superior to others for whom the expression Edwardian fiscal politics has as much resonance as carburettor does for me.
Why not examine in November, btw. It’s dark and depressing so living like a mole is the natural state. You have Christmas to look forward to. And then youth’s rising sap can be tapped alongside Nature’s at the right time of year rather than being forced to bubble away until the last exam and then explode rather unpleasantly.
But I’m no longer hidebound to the tyranny of the British Education system. So why moan. The little darlings can suffer as we all did; it’s a rite of passage. If the new Tory government wanted to do something constructive about education it would restructure the school and university year. If it did then we might even accept Michael Gollum-in-a-suit Gove back as minister. Nah, that’s stupid.
So, after that little ramble over to the flash and Mary. Will she have some fresh hope, this happy spring time?
Mary saw the gynaecologist. ‘I’m worried about your weight, Mrs North. It’s fluctuating a lot.’
Mary listened but stayed silent.
‘Are you sleeping alright?’
No, but she said nothing.
‘At your age, pregnancy is potentially more, erm, challenging. You need to take more care of yourself. Both of you.
Mary nodded. She thought about her list, where she had added ‘me’. She realised it should have been ‘us’.
She broke from her daydream. The picture was becoming clear.
He pointed. ‘Long legs.’
‘Like my father.’
‘Do you want to know the sex?’
‘It’s a boy, isn’t it?’
So how many of you remembered she was pregnant? Here’s the link to refresh your memories…
And there’s always one sure fire way to tell when it’s spring, when it’s warm. When Vicky emerges from hibernation and begins here testing of the boundary fences. Given her head she’d walk back to Greece.