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Nan's House (standard:other, 1702 words)
Author: Lyssie HarrisAdded: Apr 08 2004Views/Reads: 2981/1915Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
This is an autobiographical story that I wrote when certain events in my life prompted me to think about the events that had gone before. It is mainly concerned with the break up of my parent's and the places I felt safe.

Sitting atop the aged work surface which was scarred by overheated
frying pans and careless knife wounds, the button cleverly assumed the 
guise of an aniseed twist, a favoured confection of my childhood. I 
reached out with a child's hand and grasped the object clumsily between 
my thumb and forefinger. Without hesitation, I slipped the object 
expectantly into my mouth and began to stroke it with my tongue. Its 
interweaving faces were smooth and flat, but curiously, the object was 
completely tasteless. I swallowed compulsively despite the oddity of 
the sweet, and carried on my intended route dismissing my unintended 
detour. My route took me from the kitchen to the small grassy patch of 
land just across the street, beyond the crumbling council wall barely 
enclosing the paved yard where my mother was hanging the laundry. I ran 
past her as she returned to the kitchen and reached the roadside, where 
girls sat talking or playing with dolls and hair, and the boys fiddles 
with battered racing cars that found themselves repetitively and 
mercilessly crashed against the worn curb. I chose to station myself 
next to a boy who was slightly older than me, who sat with a makeshift 
fishing rod made from a willow twig and a piece of green string 
weighted with a paperclip. He was dangling the object with mimicked 
dignity and palpable pride down a storm drain. He sat up a little 
straighter as I watched the paperclip create ripples in the rainbow 
water. Quite suddenly, I became aware of a strange churning signal 
coming from my stomach that I could not decipher or understand. I 
twisted uncomfortably. 

The signal stopped abruptly; I deposited the entire contents of my
stomach on the older boy's lap. 

It was the first time I had been sick so violently without showing any
other signs of illness. My mother was distraught. I was her first, and 
at the time her only child, and she was still uncertain about the 
appropriate course of action to take. I was worriedly rushed, not to a 
hospital or a GP, but to my Nan's House. 

Nan always seemed to have an answer for any illness or ailment that
could possibly befall a child. She herself had raised five children all 
of whom (except my mother) still lived with her at the time. My Nan was 
knowledgeable. My mother was terrified at the thought of what childhood 
illness or disease I may have contracted, but Nan had seen nearly all 
of them and was quite confident that I had simply swallowed something. 
She explained her conclusion to my mother as I sat innocently on the 
living room floor, unshaken by the incident. Then again, Nan's House 
always did seem safe. 

Whenever I was there I felt impervious and untouchable, as though the
walls themselves were a barrier not only to the cold and the wind and 
the rain, but to everyone and everything I felt threatened by. The 
outside world seemed grey and ominous and filled with people who were 
cold, cruel and callous and completely self  absorbed. They didn't 
care for the other people around them; they were too used to taking 
care of themselves. Most families in the street were on benefits. Some 
did drugs. It was by no means a safe place for a child to live or grow, 
but when I was inside Nan's House, I knew that the people around me 
cared about me and loved me. I knew without doubt that my family would 
always be here, and that Nan's House would always, always be safe. It 
could comfort me if I grazed my knee or if I was upset. If I cried, I 
knew that if I went to Nan's House, I would forget my tears. 

Inside, it was very retro eighties. The carpets were brown and the
pattern had been worn away form over use. The backsides of visitors had 
reddened the brown leather sofa in the living room. My Nan couldn't 
afford a new one, so she said the patches gave it character. The 
woodchip on the walls had been painted peach and the pine table onto 
whose surface had been etched initials and important dates was 
spattered with paint. The living room itself smelled distinctly of 
tobacco because my Nan smoked cigarettes. My grandfather however 
preferred a pipe. The steam form cooking vegetables which had been 
grown in the garden clouded the windows. The smell of steak and bacon 
permeated the room tantalisingly. Nan cooked the best bacon buns. 

As my mother and I left the house that night to return home, I looked
back on the dark silhouette of the building pressed against the inky 
sky. The bright eyes of Nan's House smiled at me. I smiled back. 

I did not return to Nan's House again for several months I was

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