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OLD TOM ( a short story)
Nimuae - 29-7-2008 at 16:33

OLD TOM




They pushed his wheel chair near to the window, placed what passed for a cup of tea on the table beside him, and went to deal with next person. “Did you watch … No, but I heard about … really, who’d have thought …” There was something soothing about their inane chatter. The window was open. New mown grass, daisies, and wood smoke scented the breeze that danced on his memory.

September it was, hay making, on just such a day as today. All scythes and pitchforks then, no fancy machinery making noise and smells. There she was. Walking across the fields, picnic basket over her arm, jug of cider in her hand, hair the colour of ripe corn. All the men stopped work - and not just for the lunch, neither, but to watch her walk. Like dancing it was. Well, they could look, but her smiles were all for him.

Rumble of wheels, footsteps. Another one washed, dressed, and left to sit by the window. Jolt, two pairs of hands pull him upright in the chair, and shake him roughly. “Gotta keep wakin’ ‘em up or they don’t sleep at night. Like kids they are. Did I tell you about …” hands pat his shoulder, voices drift away.

Her hands now, they were different. Rough, from working hard in the fields, but gentle. Always gentle. With him, with the children, with the grandchildren. She was always gentle. She loved to lie in their soft bed, talking over their day, making plans, always stroking his hair and playing with his fingers to soothe him into sleep. No-one touches him now, well, none that matter. Duty contact only. Toilet, wash, dress, chair. Not uncaring exactly, but impersonal.

Swallows are dancing in the sky, way marking, soon be gone now. He remembers how she loved to watch them wheeling and diving about house. Saying their goodbyes, she fancied. Well, she always was a dreamer. She was took ill in the Spring, when the Swallows were just arriving, and she died when they left, in Autumn. He wishes they would go now and leave him be. His memories have become painful.

His brain cries ‘Help me’, but his voice won’t work, Hands shaking, can’t reach the bell. Pain beyond pain, then a soft, familiar touch smoothes his hair. “Come to me, my lovely, I’ll take of you now”. Gentle fingers take his hand and, suddenly, they are young again. Tom and Kate, walking through the hayfield, laughing in the sunlight.

They push his wheelchair away from the window into a side room.
“Best leave him in here. Doctor’ll be along soon - no hurry.”


the bear - 29-7-2008 at 16:52

Once again, "thank you for sharing"

One of lifes "truths" mellowed by gentle memories. Excellent


Regards the Bear


victor - 29-7-2008 at 22:31

Brought a tear to my eyes being a country lad.
How many will have such memories in the future?


Nimuae - 29-7-2008 at 23:06

Thank you both for your kind words - I am submitting this one for a competition.


the bear - 30-7-2008 at 02:13

Quote:
Originally posted by Nimuae
Thank you both for your kind words - I am submitting this one for a competition.



A winner for sure, best of luck.

Regards the Bear


scholar - 30-7-2008 at 03:03

Excellent!

The short short story takes a special skill. Not every author can pull it off.:)


LSemmens - 30-7-2008 at 14:26

Good one, Nim! Best of luck with the comp!

I'm sure that this has been discussed before, and you don't have to answer if it's prying, I'm just being nosey. What do you so for a living? The stories and poetry you willingly share her leads me to think that your field would be in the arts.


Nimuae - 30-7-2008 at 19:35

Quote:
Originally posted by LSemmens
Good one, Nim! Best of luck with the comp!

I'm sure that this has been discussed before, and you don't have to answer if it's prying, I'm just being nosey. What do you so for a living? The stories and poetry you willingly share her leads me to think that your field would be in the arts.


I was a Computer Systems Manager for the NHS, for some time. Then they installed a system that, in theory, managed itself. Having always been interested in medicine I went back to college and retrained. Qualified as a Complimentary Medical Practitioner, eventually became a Consultant in private practice.

At heart I have always been a writer, actually wrote my first poem on my 5th birthday - here it is :-

TO A LONELY SPARROW


Poor little Sparrow, all alone,
have the others skyward flown
and left just you in the nest
to fend for yourself as best
you can ?
Poor little man.


Fly after them and catch
them up. Show them you can match
their skill with wing and feather,
no matter what may be the weather.
Show you can –
Be brave little man.


Never show to anyone your fear
of loneliness when they’re not near,
but show them you can stand alone
to face the world when they are gone.
I know I can –
My little man.


(C) Nimuae


A bit twee - but not bad for a 5 year old. Won me a prize at school anyway - a lovely copy of Dick Whittington !


the bear - 30-7-2008 at 20:14

Not Twee at all, I love sparrows, busy litle birds full of energy


Regards the Bear


LSemmens - 31-7-2008 at 11:52

Many adults would have difficulty even reading that. let alone comprehending or, heaven forbid, composing such verse. As for a 5yo, 99% of them couldn't do half as well. If you are looking for praise, (which I know you're not), You got it! Also a very good poem.You should consider publishing some of your works, not that I make a habit of reading poetry, 'cept here, but there are those who do appreciate the imagery of a well written piece.


Theravad - 31-7-2008 at 14:11

Quote:
Originally posted by Nimuae

OLD TOM




They pushed his wheel chair ....


Was tempted to flag this as not "work safe" since I am getting some funny looks as I have a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat.

As usual, wonderfully, emotionally evocative writing Nim - good luck with the competition.

T


Nimuae - 31-7-2008 at 22:21

Thank you all very much - I'll let you know how it does in the competition. It is only a local one - not National or anything - but fingers firmly crossed!