Listen. The first girl I ever kissed, I kissed at that bus stop. And the first stairs I ever staggered up drunk were those stairs, right there behind that door…
A new flash fiction from Rufus Woodward was published last week up at Wolf Publishing. See below to read the whole piece.
Thanks for reading.
(or, a grown man looks wistfully at the home of his youth)
I romanticise this place all out of proportion. Of course I do. It’s the house I grew up in. I can’t help myself.
To me, this place was always a grand castle, huge and baroque, with flags and fanfares and everything. To me, my room was a turret, pointing high above a tall tower, a place where I could stand at my window and stare down at the rolling hillside and glittering moat beneath me.
Of course, I know it is not a castle. Not really. It’s only a pebble-dashed, two room, second floor apartment at the corner of the street. And I know that’s no moat, it’s only six lanes of cars and lorries speeding by through the traffic lights. And no, that is no enemy camp on that hillside over there. It’s only the bus depot and the supermarket. But who wants to dwell on mundane things like these?
My Mother always hated this house. “It was a horrid place to bring you up in,” she told me once shortly before she died. “So small, so cramped. And noisy and dirty from all those cars flying past. Not even a back yard for you to play in.”
I didn’t mind at all. I didn’t even notice any of that. And looking at it now, I still don’t. Listen. The first girl I ever kissed, I kissed at that bus stop. And the first stairs I ever staggered up drunk were those stairs, right there behind that door. So many things happened to me in that building. Big, important, mythic things. These are the sort of things people write songs about or make movies about. Nobody writes songs about things that happen to me these days. Nobody writes songs about old men who wear suits to work and play golf at weekends. Or, if they do, nobody wants to listen to them.
That place was a keystone, a cornerstone of so much that made me what I am today. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll just go on being romantic about it. It’ll always be a castle for me. With a moat and with a tower. Look. What is that black spec floating up there in the bright, blue sky? Is that a dragon? It is, you know. It is a dragon.