Short Story Writer

Worthing Walking Club

Someone was saying that they had walked down the same road last time hadn’t they and the person next to them agreed that yes they had walked down the same road the last time. The first person thought that she must have been right and was pleased with her correct observation. That van wasn’t there last time though, another person joined in, and those people hadn’t sold their house the last time either it was remembered by someone further back. Another person was sure that that house wasn’t that shade of yellow the last time they came but they were assured that it was because another person recalled having a conversation about whether it would be described as buttercup yellow or buttermilk yellow. Buttermilk was decided upon as they remembered. It was far too mellow to be considered buttercup. Something else must be different about it then, that person insisted. They didn’t know what, but something had changed.

The person at the front of the walking group was wearing a high visibility waistcoat. Everyone walked in twos behind the person wearing the high visibility waistcoat so that they stayed safe and so that nobody would get lost. Their leader stopped to cross the road and everyone queued behind.

They had crossed in that exact same spot last time, the first person pointed out and everyone was cheered to remember doing exactly the same thing as they had done before. That was right. They remembered standing in that exact same spot. One person was missing this time and there were two new members and so not everyone was walking with the exact same person and so it was also a little different. While they waited, they attempted to place who was standing with whom and in what order compared to last time. Then they could really measure just how similar or just how different this walk was from the last. Their heads bobbed around as they each counted and checked their position in relation to the other people around them and they judged by some innate feeling whether they were further forward in the group or further back than before. They leaned their heads away from their neighbours as they looked at them and tried to overlay this new picture on their memory of the last time to see how well the two matched. The new people even looked around as if trying to help.

It turned out that mostly the group had fallen into the same formation except for the few minor differences that couldn’t be helped because of the members that were missing and because of the new members. The new members searched around themselves for excuses but the road had cleared and the group could now cross.


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A Daughter Came to Visit

A daughter opened the door to her mother’s house with a key that she had. She called to her mother and only the quiet noises of the house answered. For instance, a clock ticked and some wind escaped through a window. She called again as she turned to close the door. Still, only the house answered.

She wandered about the rooms of her mother’s house. It was cold and the daylight was dark. She continued to call for her mother without a response but she knew her mother was there. The rooms were empty. They did contain furniture but other than the furniture, they were empty. The house was a perfect square with a central room and a corridor that ran all the way around the central room and which led to other rooms.After the third corner, this daughter found her mother in the dining room.

The mother was sitting at the dining room table. She was expectant but she was not waiting. There was a pot of tea and two cups laid out on the table and the mother gestured that the daughter could pour the tea into the cups for them both. The mother already knew what she was going to talk about but she didn’t like to instigate the conversation. The daughter did not know what they were going to talk about but she knew it had already been decided and so she asked lots of questions until she found it out. If the daughter accidentally steered the conversation away from the decided topic, her mother looked away at the window as if she was looking out of it at something not very interesting. The daughter would trace her way back to where she had strayed off course and her mother would start talking again. This way, a daughter can come to trace the boundaries of her mother’s conversation.

The mother expected that the daughter had things to do and so the daughter began collecting the cups and plates and the tea pot and put them onto the tray to tidy things away before she left. The mother insisted that she did not need to do that while she placed the things the daughter had forgotten onto the tray. The daughter put the tray in the kitchen and said goodbye to her mother who remained in her seat but participated in a hug. The daughter turned the fourth corner and was back at the front door. As she left, the daughter  pictured the map of their conversation but with her wrong turns erased.

Ugly Baby

The young mother was saying that she supposed her baby would grow into its looks. She was meeting her friend for the first time since the baby was born. She bounced the baby up and down. Unfortunately the baby had inherited her grandmother’s nose. The mother could see that already. The mother drew her friend’s attention to the baby’s cheeks which hung heavy and low either side of its chin. The friend said that they say an ugly baby will turn into a beautiful adult and cute babies often grow up to be a disappointment. The mother supposed that that was because with less good-looking babies, the expectations were lower and so people were pleasantly surprised if they turned out to be pretty or handsome as older children or adults, considering they had been ugly babies. The mother told her friend that it showed that mother’s do not always think their babies are beautiful even when their babies are really quite funny looking.