The writer is a lonely hunter

gailaldwin

#FridayFlash: Socks

on May 18, 2012

Socks

The paper bag is damp in my hand and I peek inside – most of the sherbet pips are stuck together like frogs’ spawn. I pull free a chunk and it fizzes on my tongue. Angela’s got rhubarb and custard, she counts the sweets, putting them in a line along her thigh.

‘That’s not fair.’ She talks with a sweet tucked inside her cheek, making her look like a gerbil. ‘Last time I bought two ounces, I got eight sweets, but I’ve only got six this time.’

‘Don’t forget the one in your mouth,’ I say.

‘Oh yes.’ She nods and returns the sweets to the bag, inspecting the yellow and red sides. ‘This one’s chipped. D’you want it?’

‘Let’s swap.’ I take the sweet from her and spill some loose pips into her palm.

‘Is that all I get? ’ She downs the scattering in one go.

I’ve been walking home with Angela for a whole week now. She’s nice – she’s the friendliest person in my new school. She lives round the corner from me and she says I can call for her in the mornings, if I like. I wish I could sit next to her, but I’m stuck with Brian Reader. He takes more than his fair share of the desk and he rubs his leg against mine when he gets up from the chair.

‘Let’s have a look in the stream.’ Angela picks up her satchel and leads the way. I don’t have a bag so it’s easy for me to scramble over the rocks, but she has to make a path over the dried mud. Once we’re by the water, she dares me to walk under the bridge. I look at the sloping sides and water laps right up to the edge.

‘I can’t. I can’t get my sandals wet.’

‘You won’t get wet. There’s enough of a ledge to walk on.’ Angela points. ‘I’ve done it loads of times.’

‘You go first then.’

Angela clutches her satchel and takes side-by-side steps, her back against the concrete wall. I watch her until she beckons. I’m only a couple of paces in when there’s a splash. She’s dropped her satchel and it’s floating down the stream.

‘What are you going to do?’

‘Get it, of course.’ She steps into the ankle deep water, then trots along, chasing the bag. When she catches it, she swings the satchel onto the ground, splattering droplets into the air like a fountain. I find her sitting on the bank, her legs are soaked and she’s using a leaf to dry her satchel.

‘Aren’t you going to check inside?’

Angela undoes the buckles and finds her pencil-case, the new felt-pens are leaking. She takes off her socks and wrings them, then wiping her pens, she turns them into a tie-dye of colours.

‘Won’t your mum mind about your socks?’

‘I don’t think so,’ says Angela. ‘Not if I tell her Brian Reader pushed me into the stream.’

This story first appeared on FlashFlood in celebration of National Flash Fiction Day on 16 May 2012

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17 responses to “#FridayFlash: Socks

  1. That’s a delightful story and a pleasure to read!

  2. Angela might be the friendliest person at the school, but I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could spit her! I wonder if the table-hogging and leg-rubbing is just Brian’s clumsy way of trying to be friendly … Great story!

  3. Fiona says:

    Sherbet pips took me back. Delightful story

  4. I think everyone needs an Angela 🙂 Lovely story!

  5. rebeccaemin says:

    This is a lovely story. I can’t help but wonder where Angela is going to lead your narrator next!

  6. Oh, that Angela sounds like a delightful bit of trouble.

  7. Gail – I so enjoyed this short glimpse back into childhood!! Angela is a keeper. Thanks.

  8. ElizabethM says:

    This was a sweet story. It fit the slice of life category so well. It really did feel like looking through a window to observe a random moment. I enjoyed peeking in!

  9. Poor Brian. Fun story… sometimes the naughty kids were the most fun to hang around with.

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