#tuesdayuseitinasentence : A release

Magpie

Image : Pixabay

The day of my dad’s release came in sunny, the sky clear, a blue so pale it almost faded to white at the horizon. I’d reached the prison early, parked on the opposite side of the road, leaning on the bonnet as I waited, listening to the click of cooling metal.

A pair of magpies hopped along the prison roofline, the spikes and railings, between one turret and the next. As they went they picked at the gutter, turning clumps of moss and grass onto the pavement in their search for food.

I’d often wondered what was it like to live in one of those whitewashed cells, gazing out at that thin band of sky, at the black and white flick of feathers. What was it like to watch a creature live its free life while someone watches you eat, work, read, as you inhale your own stink, the stink of another man’s body?

Metal squeaked. At the gates was a figure – thin, spine bowed, as if the body was curling in on itself. I looked behind him for my dad’s broad shoulders, the wide boy swagger. Then I saw the thin man’s grey quiff, how he dragged his left leg, a motorbike injury from before I was born.

‘Dad.’

The dad of memory was tall and wide enough to block the light, hair black and slick as a vinyl record, knotted fists blue with tattoos. As this little man crossed the road towards me, the backs of his hands flashed the same ink, now bloated and bleeding into the skin, fingers uncurled.

The old suit hung loose, the trouser legs dragging on the ground, a small boy let free in the dressing up box.

As he neared I read his expression – uncertainty, fear, hope – and I remembered …

The door banging as he came in from the pub, the first crash of glass … A dark shadow on the doorstep, the glint of a policeman’s badge … At school after the trial, the whispers, the looks, the turned backs …

There was a crack, a thud, an explosion of pain across my knuckles as bone hit bone … And he was on his back on the road.

‘For Mum,’ I said and climbed into the car.

As I pulled away I saw trembling wings, black and white as they flapped into the pale sky.

 


Written for Stephanie at Word Adventure’s #tuesdayuseitinasentence. See the word – today it is RELEASE – and write an appropriate post. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

 

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17 thoughts on “#tuesdayuseitinasentence : A release

  1. Starting to find it amazing how much of a story you can squeeze into so short a space, I suppose that’s the challenge of this, innit? I’m glad I know what a bonnet now is, the English term I mean, as we’d say here the hood of the car. I just learned that in the UK last year when I had to get under the hood/bonnet for some reason, and I read online “lift the bonnet,” and thought how funny an expression!

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    1. Ha! That was a good post wasn’t it? I’ve never read any Patterson, but surely, a lot of his other writing must be better than that?
      Thanks for commenting and the positive feedback Walt – very much appreciated

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  2. I did like the sting in the tail/tale but I also enjoyed the contrast between the two types of jailbird, the ex-con and the magpie; also the stereotypical striped prisoner’s uniform — striped black and white pyjamas — and the pied plumage of the bird. Brilliant — whether you meant the additional metaphors or not. 🙂

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    1. The bird analogy was intentional – that contrast between the caged bird and the free, though I confess I didn’t think of the uniform and the pied plumage. You make me seem much more intelligent than I actually am, Chris! Thanks so much for reading and the tohughtful feedback

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  3. Very strong writing and, as I have now come to expect from you, a completely unexpected ending. More surprising perhaps than usual. PS I loved the simile, ‘hair black and slick as a vinyl record’. Nice work, Lynn. 2017 is going to be your year.

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    1. Ah, thanks Chris – I thought it showed something of the look and character of the man without labouring over description too much. And thanks for the encouragement – hope 2017 is amazing for all of us 🙂

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    1. Thanks Jane – yes, every bird in the crow family is good for imagery as far as I’m concerned. I love them 🙂 And you’re right – no joy for Dad!

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