The eleventh installment of the flash fiction serial The Crossing
I woke up on the morning of 3rd October and I did not feel any different to how I was on the 2nd. I did not miraculously feel all mature and worldly wise and I do not think I had expected to. I had expected something – some sign or transition from boy to man. I got up.
In the bathroom after a shower I looked in the mirror. My body was the same and I did not like it. I was still a scrawny bag of bones. After getting dressed I went and sat on the veranda. I felt dejected. I t was my coming of age and nothing had changed.
Arina came out with two mugs of tea. ‘Happy birthday, Kip’ she said, almost singing. I flashed her a smile and mumbled a thank you. ‘What’s wrong with you, young man? You should be smiling instead you have a face like a wet weekend.’
‘Nothing’s changed,’ I said. ‘I still feel the same, I still look the same – how can I be a man if I am the same as I was yesterday.’
‘Oh, Kip!’ Arina was struggling not to laugh. ‘So what do you want to change?’
I began telling her how I wanted muscles and how I wanted to know all there was to know. Arina, as always, sat patiently listening, letting me get stuff out as best I could. Neither of us heard Gai come out, and I have no idea how long he stood there but long enough to hear most of it.
‘He can train you and help you build your body’ Arina said when I had finished. She was pointing at Gai. ‘You can help Kip build his muscles up can’t you dear?’
‘Yeah,’ said Gai. ‘Could do with the exercise myself!’
Loban arrived in a big jalopy of a vehicle. ‘Well, are you lot ready?’ Two hours later I was stood on a beach looking out to sea. For the first time in my life I could see the sea.
Loban and Arina were sat in a little café while Gai and I wandered the beach. We walked back along the promenade, stopping at a little hut to buy a gift for Arina and her water garden. My pockets were laden with pebbles and seaweed. As we approached the café Arina looked at me. ‘What have you got all that slimy seaweed for?’
‘So I remember.’
‘We got a truck now, Kip’ Loban said. ‘We can come here any time we want to.’
I turned to Gai, ‘wishes do come true, sometimes.’
© JG Farmer 2014