Our mothers arrived to collect us as school was to close early. I don’t know how the message was transmitted, as there was no mobile technology then, but there was my mother at the door with the others, their headscarves tied tightly around their ears against the wind. The storm was building on the tail of some hurricane from the Mexican gulf and lashed stinging rain against our faces.
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A slightly different version of this flash fiction is published as “Flash of Gold” in Oor Ain Voice, by Write Enuff, 2016. Available from epubli at this link: Oor Ain Voice, or from iTunes, or Amazon
I stop for lunch and eat my institutional sandwich at my desk. I look out through grimy leaded panes and see a flash of gold; startling on a grey day. It is a girl in a yellow flamenco dress, doing a twirl outside the college gates. It is January and -4 outside. Her heavy snow boots and sheepskin jacket do not detract from the graceful execution of her dance. But she is dancing to keep warm. She hands out leaflets and from here I can’t see what they are. To save horses in Spain perhaps. She prances after some disappearing students who take her leaflets and laugh. One of them returns, he takes the bundle from her and places them down. He blows on her hands, and rubs them in his. They laugh. Their breath hangs in the cold air. They raise their hands to the cloud. This is our cloud they might be saying, we made it together. They hand out the rest of the leaflets. Her yellow dress swirls. He struts a clumsy dance one hand on his hip, she stamps her feet and circles him. A gold mist envelopes them, is this love blooming on a grey street on a grey day? I check my screen. A Facebook friend posts that it is snowing in Barcelona. Who would have believed it? My lunch is up. I leave them to canter home.
Apparently, the dogs woke Andrew last night to tell him that Sebastian was home. Picture this – we are in the bedroom – door closed. The dogs are in the hall outside the bedroom – door to the kitchen closed. Sebastian and Sascha are in the kitchen with the cat-flat opening to the outside world. Sebastian slips out in the dead of night to visit the cat nightclubs; he gets high on catnip. On the way back, he fancies a takeaway, grabs one from the colony at the corner of the street, and brings it home. Sascha catches him sneaking through the cat-flap and gives him what-for for being out so late, hanging out with his good-for-nothing mates and bringing home a stinking, greasy takeaway. She grabs it from him and it scoots across the kitchen floor. This wakes the dogs who want to join the kafuffle (cattuffle perhaps) but frustrated by the closed kitchen door they decide to split on him instead. They scratch and bark at the bedroom door. I’m dead to the world (hee hee, snore). Andrew gets up, opens the door to see Sebastian, snatch his supper from Sascha declaring – “paws off – go out and get your own takeaway you good-for-nothing, lazy wee scumbag”. Andrew grabs the now cold, and half chewed takeaway, and flushes it down the loo. Still high, Seb protests sheepishly, Sascha smirks, the dogs giggle behind their paws (Muttley style), and I snore. This morning I got up wondering what the dogs were telling me – sniffing around the kitchen – pointing their noses accusingly at Sebastian who is now sober and sulking, Andrew is awake and grumpy and I found – the toilet seat up and the remains of a dead mouse floating on the water. “Andrrroooo” I shrieked – “can you never remember to put the toilet lid down!”