And Everything Sparkled

There was a girl wandering round the town centre, yet not really a girl, more a young woman. And if you looked closely, there were sparkles left by her feet.

It would be late in the day on the eve, the eve of Christmas and she’d search. She’d search for the perfect gift and wishing the best of all things to every shopkeeper in her path, she would make her way out of the town.

And her father would have been waiting in the car at the base of the hill. She’d bundle herself back in, bags and boxes, packets and tales of her trip and they’d leave.

At home her mother was swaddled in the smell of baking and the pastry would melt in her mouth.

And this young women was the girl tucked up in bed, was the wide eyed child listening out for bells. And later she’d wait for the rustle of bin bags and her father laying out gifts.

It was this girl who’d push open the frosted lounge door on Christmas morning, to the settee packed, bursting with bright paper and symmetrical delights.

Years later that woman chewed on carrots and hid a sleigh bell under the tree. And their son would find it in the morning and his giggles filled their world.

And then now.

Now it’s the woman on the settee with a candle, holding tight to the girls in her mind. The carrots lie beneath a smaller tree, a motif tree, not the magnificent trees of childhood or marriage. But a just-enough-tree in the corner, still bringing light to her world.

It would be bedtime soon for the woman and the candle. Curling up once more, she’d hold all her Christmases tight in her arms.

And in the morning they’d parade around her, spinning, twirling, laughing in delight.

But for now she would blow out the candle, and watch the endless sky.

Maybe, just maybe she’d see something dart across it, a flash of light, a sparkle like the footprints that she left. The girls who lived in the woman, the woman who was made of the girls, who still believed.

Bed time, sleep time, they whispered to each other. Nearly time to put on the show again.

Window World

And it became a birdsong kind of day. It opened and they woke to tiny throats vibrating, chirping louder than they’d heard before. And there it was, the sun beating brighter and sparrows hopped.

They paused on car roofs and looked around, then darted zig zags in the air and found a branch. Branches that quivered and they waited for the sounds.

But the sounds didn’t come. The rush grumble roar of wheels on road didn’t happen and blackbirds watched, they cocked their heads on one side and scoured the ground for food.

They found seeds in the un trampled grass and filled their bellies in the way they used to do before the people came, in the sweet silence before the muck and dust, and they sang out. Hard tallons scratted up and down the rooves, leaves stretched out, wet and new and morning opened.

The birds reclaimed the town, they darted, scattered in the photons, unhindered, untethered, their voices spiralled up in silent air.

There were faces at the grime stained windows but the birds still flew.