Occasional Sunshine

by Sandra Davies

‘Didn’t you used to have a daughter?’

The tense and phraseology jarred, but he was inarticulate not ignorant, awkward rather than unaware of how it sounded and she smiled at him.

And as she smiled she thought about the speed with which one assimilates impressions, with which one judges. She had never, to her knowledge seen this man before, despite him obviously living only round the corner, standing on the drive before his house. And he was not conventional, would not have been invisible. Tall, well over six foot, but a bendy, willowy uncertain tall, brown one-year sapling rather than slow growing sturdy branch, the tree metaphor extended by the catkins of his light brown dreadlocks, loose and shot with streaks of blondness denoting, she thought fancifully, the several summers he had lived through since he first grew them.

‘I still have.’ She smiled again, ‘but she no longer lives at home.’

And he nodded, silent, calm, unsmiling, acknowledging confirmation rather than conventionally implying ‘Oh that’s nice.’ Instead he said ‘I’m still at home’ by which he indicated failure of a sort, and yes, he seemed the sort that failed, gentle, unconventional, quite sweet.

And when asked, her daughter confirmed this and dismissed him, not unkindly but with little thought, ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘that’ll be Adam, he was a couple of years ahead of me.’ And that was all.

And that was all it stayed for perhaps another four, five years until one day, while waving off her daughter, visiting and evidently well flown, long grown, smart suit and statement car, she saw him once again, returning from the river, still willowy and gentle, smile still sweet. She loitered in the sunshine and he said ‘I almost didn’t recognise her.’ And she knew just what he meant, for sometimes nor did she.

Sandra Davies completed (and is still editing) a novel for NaNoWriMo in 2010 and has just been invited to become a member of The Poetry Circle. She is a printmaker interested in family history and lives in Teesside.

  1. #1 by Jennifer walmsley on January 19, 2011 - 3:39 pm

    I loved this. Beautiful metaphors. The mother, obviously, proud of her child but sensing the growing distance between them.

    A gentle and pleasant read.

  2. #2 by S de Assaf on January 19, 2011 - 3:55 pm

    Full of tenderness and the gentle sadness of seeing that your child is now a fully fledged adult. Loved the counter point with the young man not a loser but an innocent.

  3. #3 by Nikki Magennis on January 19, 2011 - 4:14 pm

    Absolutely beautiful!

  4. #4 by Diana E. Backhouse on January 19, 2011 - 4:21 pm

    A nice, gentle read with which I could equate.

  5. #5 by Harry B. Sanderford on January 19, 2011 - 4:34 pm

    This is wonderful Sandra. So many good bits, “…visiting and evidently well flown, long grown, smart suit and statement car…” :) …and the ending is exquiite.

  6. #6 by ed dean on January 19, 2011 - 6:13 pm

    Glad to see you spreading your own wings Sandra.
    Would luv to read more on this.

  7. #7 by Mike Handley on January 19, 2011 - 6:20 pm

    Love it, S. This one has a calming effect, like a cup of coffee on a cold winter morning.

  8. #8 by Michael D Brown on January 19, 2011 - 9:05 pm

    Love this for all it says outright, and all that’s hidden in the layers beneath. The descriptions are wonderful and the implications intriguing.

  9. #9 by Cath Barton on January 19, 2011 - 9:59 pm

    Some lovely poetic language in here Sandra.

  10. #10 by Gita on January 20, 2011 - 12:24 am

    Willowy-uncertain tall and the catkin likeness of his dreadlocks — I always love botany used in the service of lyrical prose! The artist in you sees and then describes so well. Plus, what everyone else said.

  11. #11 by Kristine on January 23, 2011 - 6:11 pm

    Characters, like airy atoms, orbiting each other…wonder where it will go. Airy sweet feeling.

  12. #12 by Sandra Davies on January 23, 2011 - 8:27 pm

    Thank you all for your extremely kind comments – this was a thoroughly happy story to write and I am hoping to have it continue – fingers crossed.

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