Monday 23 April 2018

Round 17.


Gwelvin Stokes lives by the river, his name is on the gate.

The house is wooden and he built it himself; some of the left over timber remains stacked in the yard at the side.

There is a small lane between the house and the river and here Jamie is standing on the riverbank.

Jamie is Gwelvins’s son, and he is looking at the ice that has formed on the edge of the river; the temperature is low and although the sky is blue and the sun is shining, everything is slowly freezing.

The ice reminds Jamie of a book he once read which begins with a description of the day a father took his son to see ice for the first time.

The book is A Hundred Years of Solitude, and today Jamie is also alone.

He is looking at the ice, but he is thinking about Jenny; is she his girlfriend or just a friend who is a girl?

Jamie and Jenny.

Is that ok?

He is thinking about this too.

Jamie is alone because Gwelvin is not at home; he is sitting in a coffee house in the distant city. He is drinking hot chocolate and thawing out after a cold walk from the railway station; his gloves sit on the table beside him and he is learning how to fold an origami bird.

The origami bird is a Crane, and Gwelvin is trying to teach his hands to be automatic; this is the fourth origami crane he has folded since he started drinking the hot chocolate.

His memory of the technique, which he read on the internet, is not perfect; at least one of the four origami cranes looks like a sausage.

The others look like salami.

When he has a perfect origami crane he will put it in an envelope and send it to his niece Charlie.

Charlie doesn’t know that her uncle is folding an origami Crane, and she wont see it for several weeks as the post will take a long time to reach her; she is living in Kuwait.

Right now she is lying on a yoga mat in the centre of the Wellness Gym where she works; she is staring at the ceiling wondering what she is doing here. It is not like this every day but today she is feeling a little homesick; she is thinking about her mum.

Her mum is thinking about supper.

She is sitting in a traffic jam on the edge of the city where Gwelvin is folding the origami crane, although she is unaware of this.

She is thinking about supper but she is also thinking about cigarettes and why exactly she made it her New Year’s Resolution to stop smoking; it’s the sixth of January.

When she gets home, after she has had her supper, she will take the decorations down from the Christmas tree and store them away in the suitcase where they will spend the rest of the year.

The suitcase belonged to her father and she never decorates the Christmas tree without thinking of him.

His name was Ronnie.

Ronnie worked in a clothing factory; he was the shop floor manager until his lungs gave out after a lifetime of smoking.

Maybe this is why his daughter has decided to stop smoking.

For supper she will have a kipper.

Ronnie’s favourite food was a kipper.

Ronnie’s wife, Madge, hated kippers; she prefers chocolate ├ęclairs.

She is sitting in the day room of the sheltered housing where she lives; she is thinking about her daughter who has just said goodbye and is now sitting in a traffic jam trying not to smoke.

She is looking at the chocolate ├ęclair that her daughter left on the table for her.

Should she eat it now or save it for when Jenny comes with the tea at six o’clock?

She likes Jenny; she has only been working at the care home since November but she is so full of life and energy everyone says that she has changed the place for the better.

Even the grumpy ones have noticed.

But right now Jenny is crying.

She is sitting in a corner of the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil and she is crying.

She has something to tell Jamie.

She doesn’t know how.

Jamie is unaware of this.

He is watching the river slowly freezing over outside his dad’s house.

His dad is Gwelvin Stokes.

Gwelvin Stokes lives by the river. His name is on the gate.

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