Archive for the ‘flash fiction’ Category


I’m in the new flat. It’s so different to the old house, smaller, no gardens, just bricks. Outside it’s rows and rows of houses. Big, small, terraced, semis, detached. Houses of all shapes and sizes with equally different and diverse families in them. It’s all so different to what I’m used to, to what I know. It’s overwhelming my senses having to learn a new area, meet new people, start life all over again. It’s all I can do to just get out of bed. I’m finding it difficult to cope, don’t know what to do or who to turn to. I pull the duvet over my head and take comfort in the dark. I’m happy now.


We’re moving. Moving away from everything I know, everything I understand. Mum and dad have a new job the other side of Bradford. It’s a long way from where I live now. Will I see any of my friends ever again? I’m overwhelmed with emotion’s, but I can’t express them. I stand there worried, scared, confused. I don’t fully understand what is happening or why. The future is scary especially when it’s so uncertain.


A short story of my little adventure yesterday.

It starts fine my run round Midgely Moor. I feel good and I’m running well. I’m alone on the moors and I’m enjoying it. I follow the route up and over High Brown Knoll, down to Warley Moor Reservoir and up the bog following the fence. Then it all goes wrong, very wrong. I climb over the stile and head for the stones at the top of the moor. Except that today I can’t see them because the fog has descended on the moor and the layer of grey mist is all there is here. I think I’m following the right path, I see some stones and head for them believing I am on the right path. But I’m not. I walk around the moors for 5 long miles through ankle deep water and knee high tussocks getting more lost and confused with each step. I hear voices but cannot see anyone. Are these the voices of the dead who got lost on these moors and come out when the fog hides them? I pass the stones again and realise I am alone on the moors, lost in a blanket of fog with only the voices of the dead calling out to me. I keep seeing a path only to get close and realise it’s just grass of a different colour. Is this it I wonder? Is this where my life ends alone on the moors, exhausted, confused, scared. I pass the stones again and head in a straight line, it’s my only hope of getting off the moor. I come out of the fog and I can see where I am as the air clears around me. In the distance I can see a path, this is much clearer than the others. I head over the moor and finally get to the path. I can get home now back to the warmth and safety of my home and away from the moor that wants to eat me up.


The middle tier at school was easy. The tests for the top tier were easy. Life in the top tier is so different. Everything seems harder to learn, more intense. I’m struggling to take it all in, to understand what is happening, what is expected of me. Maths is especially difficult. Algebra make no sense at all. I’m lost in a sea of knowledge and learning. I don’t know who to turn to or where to go. I don’t want to be at school anymore. I wish I hadn’t passed the tests.


Getting to the top grade at school was a big achievement for me. Maths and English tests and I was selected above everybody else, just one person, me. However I soon began to struggle and was overwhelmed by the harder lessons and tougher expectations of me academically. In the grade below I was near the top of the classes and was effectively cruising at school. I coped with the lessons and homework and had plenty of time to play with my friends. School was not a worry for me. Moving to the top grade was a very different matter for me. There was more homework, tougher questions, algebra was a new concept for me, how could you do maths with letters? I’m still confused by algebra but I can add up, subtract, divide and multiply, what more do you need for life! Moving home didn’t help either. Everything happened at once, moving home, moving up a grade at school and looking back I couldn’t cope. It was all too much for me I was overwhelmed and collapsed under the weight of everything that was going on and retreated into my shell, unable to talk to anyone about how I felt because I didn’t understand what was going on and I couldn’t even begin to put into words how I felt. I felt lost in the world and took to my bed as the only place I felt comfortable and safe in the world. Maybe if I hadn’t moved away from everything I knew I would have been fine in the top grade. Maybe if I hadn’t moved up to the top grade I would have coped better with the move. Life is full of if’s and but’s and so many unanswered questions and we all have them and all we can do is think about what might have been and move on as best we can.


Teaching in the 70s and 80s at state run schools in the North of England was a vastly different experience to the ones I read and hear about today. Teachers were in charge and they let you know it. We called them sir or miss, no names to ensure there was an invisible barrier between us that we could not cross. Yes the teachers were in charge and they let us know it. I remember one teacher who would trip you up if you ran down the corridor and simply say ‘don’t run boy’ as you lifted your face off the floor. Another teacher would hit you over the head with a piece of wood covered by a newspaper and when you asked him why he did it he replied ‘because I can’. One incident I remember is being in maths and the lad behind me was talking so the teacher threw the board rubber at him which bounced off the desk and smashed the window. The teacher just pointed at him and said ‘that’s your fault boy’! and it wasn’t worth going home and complaining to your parents because you just got a clip round the ear and told to behave yourself if you did. There were plenty of other experiences that I have forgotten now and a lot of the teachers were very nice and didn’t do anything they shouldn’t but it was a very different time and I’m glad I experienced it.


It’s my first year at Tong and I’m doing well academically. I’m getting top grades in all my subjects and soon will be progressing to the top tier. I’m still living on Holmewood at this point and walking to Marks everyday to call for him and go to school with him. I’m enjoying life, enjoying school. Everything seems so easy, so much fun. Little do I know how life is going to take a turn that will forever alter my life and turn it upside down. Life won’t be as easy after this event. This is when life gets hard for me.


It’s the day when dreams come true. My first day at big school, Tong Comprehensive. I remember looking at Tong when I was at Holmefield First and dreaming of what it would be like to go there, be there, feel so grown up, feel like an adult. And now that day has come, I’m here. I stand in the playground surrounded by children and teachers. Everybody seems to know what they’re doing. Except me. I am in the eye of a storm. I don’t know what to do or where to go. I don’t feel grown up, I don’t feel like an adult. I feel adrift in space, floating like a piece of driftwood in the ocean. Is this what it’s like to grow up and be an adult? Lost and not knowing what you’re doing or where you’re going or what you want? If it is take me back to that moment when I looked over at Tong and dreamed of going there. I knew where I was that day, I knew where I was going, I knew what I wanted. Take me back to that moment when life was to be enjoyed and not now when life is a continuous series of never ending storms taking me everywhere but where I want to be.


One of my favourite and most enduring childhood memories is of the long summer holidays. They couldn’t come quick enough and seem to last forever. The summer of 1976 is one that sticks in my mind as it was also the first time I had experienced a heatwave. The skies had been crystal clear blue since May that year and we couldn’t wait to finish school and be free from the classroom and play out and enjoy ourselves. Every day was a special day that year as we played football, went down the valley and messed about on my mates, dads truck. We were happy and carefree and had no idea of what life had in store for us. It was all about living in the moment and enjoying every moment. On one particular day my brother had come home from the army and everyone lost track of time. It was at least 10pm if not later before my mum realised I was still out and called me in to go to bed. Other years whilst not as warm were as long and as happy. The innocence of youth providing a protective barrier for all of us from the pain that life can sometimes bring and providing us with day after day of pure childlike pleasure. They were happy times, good times and I’d go back to them in a flash to relive them over and over again before the storm clouds arrived and it was back to school and the reality of life.


In the days before we had a party for every occasion we had just one, the Valentines Day disco and the one from 1978 at Holme Middle is one I will never forget for the wrong reasons. I was at the disco with Mark and everybody was dancing, drinking pop and pairing up. I went over to a girl, a really nice girl and asked her for a dance. She looked at me and said no, just like that. I felt gutted. Rejected at an early age and little did I know it would set a pattern for me and the fairer sex although I didn’t know it at the time. I think I just went and sat down somewhere and had some pop wondering why she was dancing with everybody else but said no to me. I don’t remember any other parties although I’m sure there was but this one I do remember for all the wrong reasons but that’s life and sometimes we learn lessons at an early age that only have meaning later on in life when we have gained experience and have time to reflect on what has happened to us and give us an understanding as to why things happened the way they did.