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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1925542
Rated: E · Short Story · Family · #1925542
My draft for my English GCSE coursework. Based on the poem 'Poppies'

I was brave then.

I refused to let you see me cry, steeled the softening of my face. Innocence, the sweetness that is with every child, echoed in your eyes. How little you worried, how little it upset you. “Daddy lives in heaven.” You’d say. All my words flattened, rolled, turned into felt, slowly melting. Your playground voice caught on the wind, carried to the clouds, as if your father wanted to hear it.
“You’ll understand love.” I said, grazing my nose against the tip of yours. “Just wait until you’re older.” How well you were to understand, I wasn’t to know just yet.

I was brave then.

Youth had changed into adolescence. You’d stopped me one day to tell me what you wanted to do. I listened, but couldn’t bring myself to agree.
“Let me be in the army!” You cried, bewildered by my unwillingness. “Did you make such a fuss with dad?” You spat, anger raging like the fire of passion in my heart.
“No I didn’t!” I sobbed. “And now he’s never coming back.”
Shocked silence sprang up in your eyes. I resisted the impulse to run my fingers through the gelled blackthorns of your hair. You walked to the door, threw it open, the world overflowing. A slight sob and you were away, intoxicated.

I was brave then.

With sellotape bandaged around my hand, I rounded up the white cat hairs on your shirt. If I’d seen your days being rounded up as well maybe I wouldn’t have bothered. You continued to stare at me as I smoothed down your shirts upturned collar.
“ I don’t have to go.” You’d said. “I know how much you want me to stay.”
You said this to me many times a day. My eyes watered every time. How I longed to graze my nose against the tip of yours again, play at being eskimos like we did when you were younger. But I couldn’t let you stay.
“No, you must go, you can’t back out now.” Refusing to let you see me cry, I walked with you to the car. After you left, I walked into your bedroom. Remains of the little boy I knew lingered, tatters of childhood still noticeable. I sighed, and thoughts of whether I would get you back flew around my mind.

I was brave then.

Mrs Parker often questioned about how you were. Shoving her nose into my life every day. Calm composure was hard to keep under control around her.
“How’s your boy? Been away for a few months now. You must miss him.” Miss state-the-obvious deserves an award, I thought.
“Fine. Fabulous. Fantastic.” I struggled to keep myself composed. She chatted away, ignoring my brimming eyes. Silly women. She thinks she knows pain. What does she know about pain.
The truth was that I didn’t know how you were. We hadn’t spoken in over 2 months. I flashed back to our argument a few years before. Guilt hammered through me, as I excused myself from the ignorance of Mrs Parker, and to the comfort of the empty building called home.

I was brave then.

When the phone rang. That horrible phone call of devastation. The conversation between me and the man the other end. How could he bear it? How could he bring such news to someone?
“My deepest sympathies.” He said. “If there is anything I could do..” He couldn’t bring himself to finish the sentence.
I hung up the phone, collapsing to the floor. You were gone. You’d left me, joined your father, bringing me pain. The gelled blackthorns of your hair stabbed my heart, life squeezed out by death.

Now I was at the war memorial, leaning against it like a wishbone. I’d been brave. Brave for you, brave for your father. Now I needed someone to be brave for me.
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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1925542