She looked a picture: bouncy curls, gauzy pink dress.
The afternoon was a phenomenal success – the garden resounded with children’s laughter and Suzy played the hostess like an expert, welcoming guests, exclaiming at her presents, charming the parents. She excelled in the games, but was gracious to those little ones who lacked her skill.
Then the storm hit. You could feel the air change, hear the hum, but Suzy just stood there, entranced. It took only a moment to short her out, turning her curls to frizzled wisps, her frilly dress to a charred rag.
Back to the drawing board.
Thanks once again to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers. This is my contribution to this week’s link-up.
‘Don’t stare, dear. I know – it’s distressing. Concentrate, now. Don’t crash on your first lesson.’
‘But who did that to her?’
‘Someone who claims to love her. When I was young it was common. We’d just discovered what was possible, found our wings. Some of us went a bit silly with the joy of it; and who could blame us?
‘They said it was unnatural. Snapped on real chains where we’d previously only had the chains in our own minds keeping us on the ground.’
‘I’m scared, Grandma.’
‘No need. Spin those pedals. Plenty of space up here. Let’s fly.’
I struggled for an idea for this week’s Friday Fictioneers link-up, and then came May the 4th – International Star Wars Day, with a feast of John Williams’s music on my favourite classical music station (ABC Classic FM), and a passing reference to this scene – not from Star Wars.
“You give the signal if anyone comes,” my brothers would say. “You’re too little to come in.”
They played ‘snowman’. They’d throw the powdery stuff around until they became three pale ghosts. Standing guard near the gaping fence where they’d clambered through, I’d listen to their breathless laughter.
For years afterwards they’d reminisce, reliving their antics in the derelict factory that was demolished before I grew old enough to join their game.
Tonight I’m on guard again, at another hospital bedside, listening as the last of them struggles for breath.
Outside, soft drifts of snow have turned the world white.
This is my contribution to this week’s Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.