Sunday 30 June 2024

Sunday Serial, 280 x 70, 23 Recharging Ricky 10 January 2019, by Gill James, old wine,

"So, wathca got for me today, then?"

Ricky clearly hadn't enjoyed his birthday party yesterday. Too many people probably and too much fuss. It wasn't Ricky's style. He looked exhausted. His 100 years were showing. He was slouched in his chair. His mouth was set in a firm line and his eyebrows threatened a frown. 

Neil showed him the book.

"Ah. Poems then. I enjoyed her novels."

"I think you'll enjoy these as well."

Ricky sighed. "Alright then."

Tom began reading." We came from the far side of the river / of starlight... thinking about compassion. / A firefly in a great dark garden. / An earthworm naked / on a concrete path." An undefined future is the focus of the third part of the poem, where the speaker reflects on the unfathomable: "I think of the journey / we will take together / in the oarless boat / across the shoreless river."

After twenty minutes Tom paused to look at Ricky. His cousin's eyes were closed. Tom shook his arm. "Eh, fella, are you asleep?"

Ricky shook his head. "No, no. It's easier to get the picture in your head if you close your eyes. Carry on. Carry on. Her poems are even better than her stories."

By the time they announced that lunch was ready Tom had read three quarters of the book.

"Can we finish it after lunch?" asked Ricky. His eyes were shining now. He pulled himself without any effort out of his chair. "And you'll join me?"    

"I should think so," said Tom. All those other appointments could wait. And he would make sure he came to read to Ricky at least twice a week.

About the author

Gill James is published by The Red Telephone, Butterfly and Chapeltown. 

She edits CafeLit and writes for the online community news magazine: Talking About My Generation.

She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing and has an MA in Writing for Children and PhD in Creative and Critical Writing.   

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