Awkward car journey

THE AWKWARD CAR JOURNEY THROUGH MY CHILDHOOD – SHORT STORY

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My blog turned eight in July and ever since, I’ve been struggling with Writers’ Block. I haven’t published a single blog post in three months and I honestly do not know why!

I just have not had any inspiration or desire to pen down (or type out, I should say!) some candid, relatable and sometimes funny thoughts for you to read. But I randomly had a burst of inspo at midnight (of course!) a couple of days ago and wrote this short story. Enjoy!

When my mum was driving me to the train station to get the train from Manchester to Plymouth, she started to tell me about my childhood.

I don’t know much about my childhood really. It was a mostly hushed time in my life. I didn’t have many pictures of me as a kid – at least I didn’t until a couple of years ago. I suppose, pictures would have caused more hurt and questions and we weren’t ready then as a family for that. We are now, we’re getting there.

As my mum drove she kept talking. I wasn’t surprised by this, my mum talks a lot. It’s like she hates silence, like silence is her enemy. She talks about anything and everything: what she heard on the radio, what she was going to cook that night or something funny our family dog Smiley did. But that day she was talking about me as a child.

“You said and did things with such authority as a child.” she said. “It just didn’t make sense. You were literally a baby but you were so sure about yourself.”

I looked at her then looked back out the window. I didn’t say anything. It wasn’t a question so it didn’t need an answer.

“You’re quiet. I hope I didn’t make you sad. You’re not sad, are you?” I could hear the concern in her voice as she looked over at me and then looked back quickly at the road.

“No, I’m not.” I said. And to be honest, I wasn’t sad, I was annoyed and a little irritated. Why did she have to bring stuff up like this right now? I’m tired. I’ve got to focus on my journey back to Plymouth. But now this stuff is going to be in my mind. Never mind taking a nap on the night train, thanks mum!

Of course, I didn’t say any of this. I kept quiet and she took that as an invitation to continue.

“When Sarah got sick, two girls from town moved in with her to help her look after the house and take care of you.”

We never say her name outloud.

“Eventually, they had to leave so I came from the city help out. I’ll never forget the day we left some clothes soaking in the bath and found you, aged three, trying to hand wash them all in the tub.” She chuckled a sad-sounding chuckle.

“One second you’re downstairs watching cartoons with us. The next second, you’re gone from your spot on the couch and we hear splashing from the bathroom. You rolled your little sleeves up and was really going for it. I don’t even know where you learnt how to do it!”

Silence from me again.

“And the funniest thing was when we asked you why you were hand washing the clothes. Who has asked you to do it? You said: “I can do it. I don’t need help, I can do it!” in your determined three-year-old voice. And we dare not stop you.” She slowed the car down and cleared the throat slightly.

“It was that day I knew you were born to be a leader, born to do great things. God has specifically and specially made you different and people would always be attracted to you because they could see the hand and light of God over you. I just knew… And I have been right.”

Silence.

I quickly wiped a stray tear that threatened to betray me. We were getting close to the train station, thank God. I’d be out of this.

“Thanks for the lift, Mum.”

“You make me proud, Celia. And they would be so proud of you too.” More stray tears fell as I tried to drag my suitcase out of the car boot.

“Okay… Thanks, bye.” I shut the car boot.

That was awkward but my therapist said it will get less awkward the more we talk. I hope she was right.

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

Paula Melissa is a digital content creator, portrait photographer and freelance journalist. Since starting a blog in 2012 and graduating from the University of Sheffield with a Journalism Studies with Employment Experience degree in 2019, Paula has gone on to create and grow her own dynamic digital media empire. She loves reading, eating and spending time with her dog, Rolfie.
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