Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Crazy Little Thing

This week's sentence was taken from Emily Brontë's 'Wuthering Heights.'

The sentence was:
'The minute after, she had sidled to him, and was sticking primroses in his plate of porridge.'

Crazy Little Thing

For a while now Clara had been furtively eyeing up the empty space on the bench beside Harold, taking tentative half-steps and then retreating, panicked, into the shrubbery. Finally she seemed to make up her mind. The minute after, she had sidled to him, and was sticking primroses in his plate of porridge.

'Do you think we all get to rediscover that innocent, joyous thrill of first love again when we lose our marbles?'
Rebecca pouted at me. 'Don't mock. It's kind of sweet.'
Over on the bench, Harold was grumbling and trying to protect his porridge from Clara's amorous assault. It was indeed kind of sweet, which made a nice change; working at the care home was pretty shitty most of the time.
'Besides,' Rebecca continued, 'first love is always a big, messy mistake; something that Clara's about to discover if Harold tips his porridge all over her.'
I chuckled and wandered over to intervene, gently disarming Harold.
'Not finished!' he yelled at me.
'Harold, it went cold ages ago and you've not been eating it anyway.'
Reluctantly he let go of his plate and I left the lovebirds to their courting.

Rebecca followed me inside, sitting on the counter and swinging her legs while I scraped Harold's cold porridge à la primrose into the waste.
I had to ask: 'So what made your first love such a messy mistake?'
'He was five and had a permanent wet booger hanging from his nose. He was always trying to kiss me with that thing bubbling and swinging around.’
‘Sounds a real charmer. So how old were you? Eighteen? Twenty-five? Ow!’
Rebecca was deadly with a wet tea towel. She grinned. ‘I was five as well, you goitre!’ She brandished the towel again. ‘Quid pro quo, Clarice. Dish the dirt on your own first love. I’m not afraid to use this, so fess up, buster.’
I’ve learned never to argue with a woman who quotes Hannibal Lecter, especially one as skilled in domestic weaponry as Rebecca.
‘I was twelve. She was older. A vision in white with hairy doughnuts stuck to the sides of her head. It was a long time ago …’
‘… in a galaxy far, far away. Yeah, yeah, I know. We’re not talking about your crush on Princess Leia, you saddo; we’re talking real, messy, traumatic first love here. Now spill. You’ve got one more chance before I slap your fat ass round the garden with this towel.’
‘Okay. Her name was Amy and she broke my heart into a thousand pieces.’
‘I loved her all through school, enduring the pain of seeing her date every other boy in class. Then the very day I was going to ask her out her family emigrated.’
Rebecca almost fell off the counter laughing.

Outside in the garden, Clara was discovering what I already knew: that love is crazy and love is blind and that the greater part of the love in this world goes unrequited.
But it’s still worth it.


MmeBenaut said...

Oh, I do love this piece, Dive. Again, it would be such a lovely sketch in a greater novel, about the love between the two care nurses, watching it develop with humour and then taking them both unaware!

You're brilliant and you know everything and I love YOU!

Shan said...

You ARE brilliant Dive. How can you write all types of stories? I'm with Mme B. You could do anything from Stephen King to Jane Austen. Sorry to insult you with those two authors-I was going for two extremes I like. baha
Please seriously consider a novel for your peeps. You and Maria could go far in sales I am certain!

dive said...

Mme: I love you, too! Hee hee. You are right (as always) about it being better as a longer piece. I had originally ended it with Rebecca and the narrator realising what everybody else knew except them: that they were in love, but it was too abrubt jammed into jut 500 words so I left it hanging; they'll just have to discover their love another day.

Shan: you know how to flatter a silly old man.
Writing all sorts of stuff in little 500 word packages is easy; writing anything longer and keeping it real, structured and focused (and readable) is something that is quite beyond me.

Vanda said...

Dive, you always make your characters come alive! And you're seriously underselling yourself. Now that you have all that extra time, you could use it to write a novel!

dive said...

Vanda: Now I have all this extra time I was planning on getting a life.