Monday, 24 January 2011

'Before the Fall' F3 - cycle 15

It's a while since I did any of this style of flash-fiction - but in readiness for the coming long days of idleness(?) while I've been sat on the couch snuffling with a cold, I found myself writing this little vignette of times gone by, as prompted by Flannery Alden over at F3. Ah, nostalgia, the best medicine of all! ;-)


The days were longer then. The grass was greener and our knees, exposed to the fresh air in warm-weather shorts, were prone to cuts and scrapes as we ran and played through the sand dunes, the spikey grass whipping at our legs and arms. I remember the ‘holiday’ uniform of matching t-shirts and cardigans for myself and my sister, our black school plimsoles for running about; how I coveted my brother’s denim jeans and baseball boots.

The sky was bluer, too, as I recall. How vivid are the snapshots filed away in remembrance; the taste of ice-cream and the stickiness of it melting and running down across our fingers; the burnt smell of candyfloss and hotdogs and the screams and sirens of the fairground. I can still see the kites we made, rainy-day projects now brought out to take their maiden flights, to swoop and dive and fail to fly as we collapsed in heaps, laughing at each other.

Then, with sandwiches half-eaten and pop-bottles discarded on the family picnic blanket, we would cast off our shoes and run headlong for the water’s edge, feeling the warm dry sand percolating up between our toes until we left the dunes behind and found ourselves on damp and firmer ground.

Laughing, we left the imprints of our progress on the virgin, smooth flatness, until we splashed through the corrugated ripples of sand, etched by the receding waves, and fell laughing and shrieking into the cold foamy water.

Our world was simple then; our only worry lay in the anticipation each morning of waking to lift aside the curtains, fearing grey gloom but then frequently turning to ecstasy as the azure, cloudless sky promised a new day of exhilaration yet to be unpacked and examined in detail.

We ran and played and were never tired; or not for long, anyway. Filling our precious days with sights and sounds that would need to last a lifetime, we ran headlong into excitement and wonder.

Now looking back, everything seemed so simple, so black and white. I hold these precious dreams and cling to them in a world that is now so different and pine for youth’s impetuousness and spontaneity.

Maybe I need to go back to that beach and kick off my shoes before these old bones deny me my mobility and shriek as the cold waves roar in and threaten to soak my rolled up jeans. And who says I’m too old to wear baseball boots?


  1. Yeah, go get your baseball boots on.

    Lovely piece, very poignant and nostalgic. I've got a warm buzz going on.

  2. Sue, This is SO wonderful. So I'm reading it and I can feel the dandelions brushing against my legs as I'm running, I can feel the sun on my face and the breeze in my hair, and I know when I get to the beach, I'm going to sink my feet into the sand and eat the Tootsie Rolls I stuffed in my pocket when mom wasn't looking and...

    Oh, thank you so much for this. May we never believe we are too old to slip those boots on!

  3. Great taste of summer! It was very vivid and it warmed my old bones!

  4. What a delightful read. As you have so beautifully put it, 'our world was simple then'. To me, that explains why as we grow older, achieve more and accumulate more, we also grow equally restless and un-happy. Hmmm, you're prompting me to write a post myself now. I think I'll give it a shot. Thanks!

  5. Thanks for all your comments, folks! It was nice to reminisce on days gone by (......gosh was it that long ago?)

    writerzblock - look forward to seeing what you have written! :-)

  6. Absolutely wonderful! "Filling our precious days with sights and sounds that would need to last a lifetime"... oh, how true... Thank you for such a beautiful piece Sue...!

  7. Yes, Sue, a wonderful piece. By the way, you're never too old to wear baseball boots - whatever they are. Sneakers? I've been debating getting some high tops.

    You made me think of my world a long time ago. Was it that long ago? I'm afraid: yes.

  8. Beautiful and colourful, filled with overt fodder for the senses.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  9. A vivid and sensual piece done well! Great job.