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The Still Wind (standard:drama, 4974 words)
Author: MartinCAdded: Mar 16 2012Views/Reads: 1592/819Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A Small boy grows up in west London in the 60s
 



Childhood memories are entangled. They coalesce and mingle like the
colours of Neapolitan ice cream left out on a summer's afternoon. As we 
age they become non-linear. That part of us, that fraction of our very 
existence slips away and we become less as a result. So when I look 
back and feel for the fragments of what was once a continuous 
experience it becomes flawed. Smells, sounds and sights reorder 
themselves; slip into and through each other and mislead me.  It's as 
if our senses are a window of fixed width traveling across the present. 


When I remember that fog I'm sure it was the thickest fog of my life!
And that it happened when I was at junior school. Did that fog fall in 
the winter or spring preceding my last summer? I don't know. But it 
suits me to think it did. I do remember that Brandon was there with me. 
Walking to school. That route, walked every school-day for three and a 
half years, straight along the main road on which my small house stood 
until I reached the unimaginatively named School Road. That main road 
is still there and I can check it on a map if I want. School Road too. 
But of the junior and infant school nothing remains. The road was, even 
then it seemed, busy with busses, cars and lorries. Trucks full of pigs 
turning off to disgorge their smelly, squealing cargoes; smaller, 
liveried vans coming the other way with packs of sausages and bacon. 
The road crossed the canal and dived under the railway then passed on 
the left the factory behind the railings that printed maps. On warm 
days the printers would throw open a large pair of frosted windows that 
allowed a glimpse of the noisy ineffable interior. If we climbed the 
railings we could just see in. The presses would be disgorging huge 
maps of the world. The biggest I've ever seen. The whole world spat out 
every five seconds. Faster even than God could manage.  As the print 
works ended the offices began. The factory was black brick and closed 
but the offices were bright and glassy with a door that said ‘PUSH'. 
The reception  was a circular building and from the ceiling hung a 
massive globe. I used to peer up at the southern hemisphere taking in 
Antarctica, Australasia and South America. I never saw the  northern 
hemisphere - that view was reserved for those lucky enough to climb the 
stairs towards the first floor offices. I wondered if it had ever 
fallen off onto any of the visitors. I imagined it plummeting 
earthwards, without irony, and rolling around crushing people. Brandon 
said it turned like the real Earth but that it was timed so that when 
we passed in the morning and afternoon it had just turned once. For 
while I believed him. The truth was more mundane. It used to turn but 
had malfunctioned and nobody had bothered to fix it. 

Brandon ran ahead in the fog. When he had run ten yards I could no
longer see him. He would lunge back into view screaming. The fog dulled 
his shouts. It dulled the sounds of traffic too. Engine noise was muted 
and passed slowly. Cars with headlights like candles in Marmite jars 
crept past almost as slowly as we were walking.  When a 266 bus 
suddenly appeared from the gloom, all its lights on, it looked like 
like a shop or an office passing by. The passengers peered out of the 
windows, wiping the condensation away trying to see if they were 
nearing their stop. 

I wanted to run too. I wanted to see if I ran fast enough whether
somehow I'd be somewhere else completely. Anything was possible in the 
fog. The turning to the left; maybe it doesn't go to the sub-post 
office today. Today perhaps it leads somewhere magical - somewhere 
outside of time where something, anything at all, could lie just beyond 
the visible now. 

My younger brother Peter was scared of the fog and screamed the one time
I went out of his sight. Brandon didn't have a brother and so he could 
run as fast as he liked. Mum told me to hold Peter's hand all the way 
to school. But that was sissy. 

When we got to the playground it was filling with friends and
classmates. All were excited by the unfamiliarity of the usually 
mundane asphalt space. There was a shout from somewhere invisible. A 
boy ran into our group holding a ball. Look, he shouted, there are 
millions of them. He aimed the small black sphere at the ground and 
threw. It bounced and shot over our heads and eight small faces snapped 
upwards to watch it disappear into the murk. It returned to joint 
incredulity. Someone whistled a slow appreciative note. The boy said, 
There's loads of ‘em by the wall, and he turned back and ran. He was 
lost in seconds. We followed and saw that he wasn't exaggerating. There 


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