What Pegman Saw: The narrow path

Image: Google Street View

Adam stood at the boundary between wadi and desert, one boot dipping into the gritty sand, the other in the grass.

The view summed up his family.

There was the desert, the grey gold dunes, the lush but hardy date palms, that blend of beauty and toughness – that was his Saudi wife, Cala.

Then there was the agricultural land. The swathes of emerald grass, the sorghum and millet sprouting in the fields, the non-native trees that were scorched by the sun but wouldn’t survive at all without the wadi. That was him.

And the narrow path between them both, that was their daughter Bibi. She had a fall of black hair like her mother, his snub nose – though the crease between her eyes was all her own.

He wondered how long she could walk the narrow path between the two worlds.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we visit Wadi ad-Dawasir in Saudi Arabia. See here to join in.

What Pegman Saw: On the foreshore eating apples with Dad

Image: Google Street View

Dad was a crane driver at the docks, loading and unloading shipping containers, ten hours a day, six days a week.

Often, to keep us from getting under Mum’s feet, Dad took us with him, left us mudlarking on the foreshore as he swung the sulphur crane limb towards the sea, towards the shore.

I was small then, unable to translate the containers’ markings into words, the words into thoughts.

Dad would join us on the pier at break time, share a square of cheese, chewy ends of loaf, one soft apple.

I’d pester, ‘What’s inside the big boxes, Dad?’ ‘Where are they going?’ ‘Who would need so many things?’

He’d shrug, look mystified, as if it had never crossed his mind to wonder.

That was the difference between us. I needed to know how the world worked, he was content that it did.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. Today we are in Paraguay. See here to join in, share and comment.

What Pegman Saw: Lost, found, stolen

Image: Google Maps

We were led along a narrow lane into the backyard of a house. A hosepipe coiled round the base of a banyan tree – emerald green and dusty – an equally dusty tortoiseshell cat coiled on a nearby garden chair.

The gallery was a wooden construction built onto the back of the house, the roof glass, letting in any dappled light that escaped the clutches of the banyan.

Sonny handed his kyats over to the elderly artist and strode in. I watched the twitch of his shoulders through his sweat-soaked shirt as he moved from one image to the next. The trip had been good for us. Time to heal, learn how to be a couple again, not a family.

‘Kim.’ An edge in his voice.

A painting. A little girl with Sonny’s charcoal eyes, my ash-blond hair. Our little girl, holding the ragged Mr Ted we buried with her.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we visit Myanmar. See here to join in.

Friday Fictioneers: Lost Treasure

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

When Josey was a little girl, she would spend rainy afternoons playing with her mother’s pot of spare buttons – pearlised cuff buttons, chunky wooden coat buttons, shimmery greens and blues from old skirts and blouses. Josey let them run through her fingers like sea-smoothed shells, listening to their their soft chink and slither, pebbles caught in a swell.

Now Josey carries a pair of nail scissors in her coat pocket. She snips the threads and cords while people aren’t looking, adds their buttons to her stolen treasures.

But the collection isn’t Mother’s. They don’t feel the same.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. To join in and write your own tale, see here.

And many congratulations Rochelle on seven years at the helm – a more gracious, talented, generous and encouraging leader, we could not wish for.

FFfAW : Waiting to drown


This week’s photo prompt is provided by Yarnspinnerr. Thank you Yarnspinnerr!

***

It’s just me and dad now, two left out of the five that once made our family. Susie and Jess left within months of Mum dying.

Susie told me it was Dad’s drinking that finally made her leave, the cycle of alcohol and anger and self-recrimination.

Jess never told me why, only that she was going and that she would never return. I remember her expression as she boarded the ferry for the mainland, that mix of shame and sorrow. And relief.

I’ve never blamed my sisters for leaving but I can’t. Dad and I circle each other like boats caught in a whirlpool, pulled by the same forces, unable to separate. Without me he’d sink and without him I’d have to rejoin the world.

Here we drift, trying to stay afloat, wondering when we’ll grow too tired to paddle, waiting to drown.

***

Written for FFfAW. See the pic, write a tale but don’t forget to read and comment on others. See here to join in.