Writing me Down

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Exercise 6.3 – A building that has changed its purpose

Derek looked around at the mass of primary colours – blue and red rope climbing nets, multi-coloured balls, red squashy plastic shapes with children slithering over them, yelling at ear-piercing volume.

Yet he swore he could still smell the disinfectant, and hear the clatter of the dinner trolley.

Parents dodged past him, fielding toddlers, climbing with them into tunnels and hurtling down slides with their little treasure on their knee, shrieking, showing all their teeth. Would that treasure look after them when they were old, he thought. Old, dribbling, and shouting for their tea. He turned another corridor towards the bouncy castle, and stopped. It was down this corridor Emily had been. She had been quite sane really, almost normal. The corridor still had the same blue lino underneath the cheap chord carpet. He could see it at the edges, and remembered how it gleamed wet that evening, with the stench of disinfectant in his nostrils. He stood now, watching children leaping onto the orange and blue bouncy castle, listening to their shrieks above the drone of the air pump.

It was on this corridor that he found her body, her head at an ugly angle. These same walls – then faded beige, now custard-yellow – had been the only witness to what happened.

He felt a small hand tuck itself into his.

“Come on, Granddad!” Little Emma tugged his hand. “Come and see me on the slide!” Derek mentally disinfected the memories, and allowed himself to be pulled back into the joyful present that was his grand-daughter’s 3rd birthday party.


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