We are pleased to showcase the work of graduates of the recent SLT Creative Writing courses. This month, we have Audrey Lindsay with ‘Leave Nothing Behind‘.
I remember the day we drove away from the cottage where I’d been born. I remember an echoey empty bedroom, and a wardrobe where a lonely wire coat hanger rocked back and forth like a metronome. My mother pulled it out and threw it in the car.
“I’m leaving nothing behind.”
We moved to a flat in the city so dad could find work. A concrete walkway led to lifts which opened onto more concrete. The people next door were Indian, and did not talk to anyone. My father got a new job. My mother grew thinner. I played with Barbie and Ken, and waited to grow up.
One night we were all eating our tea in the kitchenette when we heard a mysterious whining from next door. Then came a knock at our front door. Dad opened it and Mr Patel stood there, beckoning. Puzzled, we all trooped into their front room where a woman in an orange sari stared at a big box, three children pulling at her skirts. The man undulated his hands, head corkscrewing.
I had never met anyone with a telly before. But the picture was crackled and blurred, and we couldn’t make anything out.
Dad looked at it from every angle. Then he left and returned with the wire coat hanger mum had taken from our old home. Eventually he created an extended aerial which brought the picture to immediate life. A man was running down the road chased by a police car with a mee maw wail so loud everyone jumped. We all began laughing with excitement, and Mr Patel grabbed my dad by the hand.
Mrs Patel brought out hot potato cakes and crunchy onion. My mum ate everything given to her. I pulled the littlest child onto my lap, and on the telly the police caught the running man and handcuffed him. It was great.
Dad bought a television of our own the following day. But we often ended up going next door because of the food, and the Indian lady taught mum how to make chicken tikka and sag paneer. After a while, mum didn’t look thin any more, and I often heard her laughing.
By Audrey Lindsay