Sunday, 30 March 2008

Springtime: A short peice about rediscovering what's precious in life:

I was bored. I was bored of all the pitiful looks, mournful tears and sighs of regret. I wanted to; needed to get away from it all before I became as miserable as everyone else. I wanted to walk along the road and dance with the blossom falling in the breeze. I wanted to run around on the grass, to fall and roll amongst the yellow nodding daffodils and dozing heads of snow drops. I wanted to live life. Yet everyone else thought it was wrong. I knew it was right, I was right. I knew it was what he would have wanted. Not to sit in this old unfamiliar church listening to relatives and friends I have never heard of or ever met rant on about how he did this, and how he did that. Has everyone forgotten its springtime? The whole world is calling it, heralding it, singing it outside if anyone but me cared to notice. I know we should mourn him, everyone has a right to but if all these strange faces claim to know him the least like I did then they would surely understand my boredom and frustration on such a beautiful day. But no, they’re all adults and adults take things extremely seriously. Don’t run you might fall over and break your leg. Don’t pick flowers you might get stung by a bee. Don’t play conquers you might get some in your eye and blind yourself. Don’t ride your bike without a helmet you might get run over by a car. That’s all I ever hear and especially since he died three weeks ago. It seems no one remembers how to smile, how to laugh anymore or if they do it’s usually about him and not anything original or genuinely funny. My mum’s become the worst of them all. She’s been nothing but misery since. Even when I pointed out in excitement the mother duck and her ducklings on the stream as we drove up all I got was a fierce glare, a piercing gaze like superman’s that can see through thick concrete walls. It was like she was peering into me to find a glitch or error to explain why I am not miserable like she is.
I was so happy and relived when the funeral service was over and Granddad was happily asleep in his grave although I can imagine his ghost walking around behind all the adults, his so called friends and family in black, pulling faces or yelling silly words into their ears but they would hear nothing but the wind and bird song.
But sadly as my mum informed me we had to attend the Wake afterwards. Who on earth thought to call a tea party after a funeral a Wake? It’s quite a silly name in my opinion. Surely the Farewell party would be better for it. But regardless of the fact I found myself stuck amongst them all yet again for a while in a big white pavilion on the village playing field. I sulked in a corner as mum refused to let me go play on the swings or the climbing frame. So I had to content myself with frowning at the floor and my shoes and glaring secretly against them all for being so miserable on such a fine day. It did seem forever before there were signs that things were finally ending. People came up to me and said goodbye, all of them strangers, I smiled and waved goodbye. Mum nudged me in the shoulder to remind me to say thank you for coming. I asked mum what we were doing next and she replied that we would stay behind to help my aunt, can’t remember her name and I know I didn’t even know it then, to clear up the tea cups and such and shift the tables back into the church store cupboard. Great I thought with a false smile. Back to boredom again.
It was as I was making the tea cups towers inside a plastic crate that Mrs Croft first introduced herself to me. She was a nice woman, black as dark clay that may have been burnt in a kiln. Her eyes seemed to always be laughing and when she smiled at me I couldn’t help but smile back in return already acknowledging her as a friend before a word was spoken. She came over and said hello and actually asked if I would like to carry the basket of cups to her car to take them back to the church. I could say nothing else but yes, if only because she asked so nicely and to say no would get a real telling off from Mum who was busy nattering rather than packing stuff away. I called to her and told her I’m helping Mrs Croft with stuff to the church, she just replied ‘very good dear behave yourself’ and returned back to talking to two very old looking women.
Oh the breeze! It was so refreshing to be out of the pavilion, I literally just stopped to let the breeze cool me down and play with my hair. I was surprised when Mrs Croft didn’t hurry me along and tell me off for being slow; she merely smiled ever so sweetly and said ‘it is such a beautiful day’ before pointing out her car on the chalk rubble car park.
When we were both sat in the car as she drove along I couldn’t help but watch all the daffodils and snowdrops dip their head as we passed; like a crowd of floral people acknowledging royalty upon the road. We arrived back at the big stone church rather quickly as it wasn’t that far a drive from the playing field. As we arrived another woman left waving at Mrs Croft as we passed.
We got the boxes of cups and cutlery into the cupboard fairly swiftly without much conversation apart from when she told me where to put things. We came back out of the church again into the warming sunlight and Mrs Croft stopped. She looked down at me with the biggest smile and asked if I would like to see something. At first I was wary as she was a stranger to me but I felt like I knew her a lot more than all the strangers who attended the funeral so I said yes and I knew I could scream and run away if she tried anything funny. She seemed too nice to do anything bad to me anyway.
She beckoned me to follow and we walked between the gravestones towards the back of the church where we came to a big black iron gate and behind it seemed to be an opaque glass door. I couldn’t see through it but I could see small fluttering things landing on the glass before disappearing again in a blur of movement. My childish heart leapt to my mouth and I shouted ‘you’ve got fairies in there!’ Of course I was young and I was definitely wrong sadly.
Mrs Croft just giggled and said “Kind of, their not real fairies but they do look like them. Come in and see for yourself.”
At that she pulled out a gold chain from around her neck where a silver key was hung, she unlocked the lock, pulled the chain away and opened the gate. I couldn’t contain myself I had to see what things were flying around in there. I ran up to the glass door and slowly pushed it open.
At first all I saw was a small walk way and either side large leaved plants and tall ones with flowers and there were rows of vine like things stretching from wall to wall. Strange looking things were dangling off them, they looked like autumn leaves all curled up and dry. But then I saw the beauty behind it all. Butterflies. They were everywhere. In every size. In every colour. In every shape. Big ones, small ones, dark ones, bright ones, some were sitting on the leaves, some dangling off flowers. Some appeared to be gathering round what looked like mouldy pieces of food. All I could say was ‘Wow.’
“Welcome to my Butterfly Nursery.” Mrs Croft said as she came in and shut the door behind us.
“Where do they all come from? What are they all doing in here?” question after question came spilling out of my mouth like a water spout.
Mrs Croft merely smiled and answered each question in turn whilst showing me round. She showed me that the leaf like things were actually chrysalis, ‘butterflies in sleeping bags’ she called them. I learnt how each different caterpillar became a different butterfly. Before this I only ever thought caterpillars were always green and they changed into purple butterflies like the books at school showed me. She explained how butterflies like to eat rotten food for its juices and sugars. She made it clear to me that they aren’t all held captive in her greenhouse, the roof windows have special holes for them to fly out of but not so big as to let insect eating birds in. It was so amazing! So awesome! So cool! I immediately wished my friends and mum were there to share it. I quickly asked if we could show all this to my mum which she replied ‘only if your mum wishes to’ meaning if she wasn’t too miserable. But the sight was so incredibly beautiful that I was willing to risk the disapproval of mum for asking such a thing on such a day.
We left carefully making sure none of the flying butterflies followed us or got caught in the door when we shut it. Whilst Mrs Croft was securing the chain and lock once more I raced through the gravestones no longer caring about whose dead mum, dad, Auntie or Uncle I stepped on and headed straight for the car park. When who should arrive but mum and the two other women in their car with more stuff. I ran up to them eager to tell them such wonderful news about the butterflies. I was no more than a foot away when Mum got out, looked at me seriously with a hint of puzzlement and said ‘stop.’
So I did, if only because I was confused by the expression on her face. She looked ready to cry and laugh at the same time and her stare at me was so intense all I could do was look down at my chest for I felt shame for some unknown cause. It was then I saw what she was really looking at.
A small white butterfly, small enough to fit in the palm of my hand had attached itself to the red buttons on my black wool jacket. It seemed to shine like the moon in the sunshine; it didn’t seem at all alarmed or even afraid to be so close to me. It twitched its long antenna at me as if saying hello before with a brief flap of its wings it flew away towards the tree tops and blended in with the white blossom flowers.
“Look’s like you have a special friend there.” Mum said as she came towards me.
I looked up with a big proud smile and my smile became a grin for this time in such a long while mum seemed genuinely happy; this was the mum I had known three weeks ago. As I excitedly led her away the daffodils and snowdrops nodded their approval as the breeze aroused applause from amongst the trees young leaves.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts - LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails