Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Story Time #2: The Melancholy Memoirs of Malcolm Stone

Are we all sitting comfortably? No? Well, tough, cos Story Time's gonna happen anyway.
In the first session of my 'Creativity' module, we each had to pick out several stones from a pot and devise characteristics for that stone based on their appearance.  After a cruel process of elimination (I will grieve Vincent, the bold yellow rock, until the day I...stop grieving him) we were left with one to write a story about. Today, I have chosen to share dear Malcolm's with you. Do enjoy.

I felt numb. My whole body just sighed to a halt. I let his hand fall from mine as I vaguely sensed the nurses rushing around me to get to him; the shrill whine of the life-support machine washing over me. Before long, I found myself sitting beside an empty hospital bed; my face a blank mask of indifference, as if it couldn’t find an expression to match what I was feeling. The nurses kept murmuring hollow consolatory statements as if they had been uttered so many times they had lost their sentiment. The next time I came to my senses, I found myself in my local pub; dealing with grief the only way I knew how.
The most important person in my life had just departed it for the final time. He was, at times, my best friend, at others, my worst enemy. We had experienced everything together; growing up in our sleepy little village, travelling across the world, seeing the greatest sights the Earth had to offer, settling back down in our old village, losing those we loved.
After my dear wife died, he had always tried to pick me up, to help me find myself again. He had lost his wife too but after the usual period of mourning, carried on, content in the times he had with her. In my state of mind, I had hated him for it. For a long while, I did everything I could to avoid him. For weeks, months, years (who knows how long my petty grudge lasted), we didn’t speak until, out of the blue, I received a phone call. He wanted to see me…
Amongst all these bubbling thoughts about what I had lost, a flash of light sparked in my head as I remembered a long-lost memory, buried for over sixty years.
When we were about ten years old - just tiny sprogs with the whole world ahead of us - we had dared each other to spend the night in a graveyard, the old one up on Graystark Hill that all the children feared, and always have. We told our parents we were staying at the other’s house and expected to return triumphantly to school the next day as heroes. However, as soon as we arrived amongst the twilit tombstones our nerves were set on edge. We made it half an hour into full darkness before we heard a distant bark, which our agitated young minds told us was a werewolf, we ran all the way home, greeted by a severe bollocking from our parents for what we had done.
As I remembered it, as clear as if it had happened yesterday, one side of my mouth made an awkward jolt upwards and was soon joined by the other side. I realised that I was smiling. For the first time in what felt like an eternity, I swung my head backwards and let out a long raucous laugh.

There we go then. You might be thinking "You rotter! Why have do you give your stone such a tough time." To which I would reply (even though you didn't actually say it; I'm psychic!): oddly, enough most of us did. And I attempted to give him a happy ending of sorts.

P.s. To those of you waiting for the final part of  my Hallowe'en story 'Man in the Mirror', please hold on but it may be awhile. I'm currently rewriting the whole thing in the 1st person as I think it might work better so I'll put the new version up ASAP.

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