Chapter 1

Written by: Ken Burns

 

 

“Girls are very selective in accounting for their past Barry.  Don’t worry,” says Donna in a very soft voice.  She is perceptive in realising I’m a worrier in everyday life but will never admit it.  The role of facilitator is clearly underutilised.

 

At high school, Madeline (gorgeous name), was 14.  I was 16. First time sweetheart momentum left a deep impression on my heart and my head.  I have never forgotten that encounter. I’m not so selective.

 

Two years was a big age gap then.  Now I’m 36, it doesn’t seem as much.

 

Donna walks towards Madeline with her hand outstretched.

 

“Thanks for the call.”

 

She shakes Madeline’s hand which is covered in a bloodied bandage wrapped in a makeshift way.

 

“That’s ok,” says Madeline in an equally nervous voice. 

 

“I was waiting for my 15-year-old daughter to get home. She is unpredictable that one.”

 

Donna looks back at me with her very warm, welcoming eyes.

 

“Barry. This is Lucinda.”

 

I stop dead for a moment while walking towards the bloodied handed mother/ex-girlfriend. 

 

I am less vague now and internally I breathe a huge sigh.

 

Madeleine has an identical twin sister, Lucinda.  She was born 30 minutes earlier. Lucinda’s the older, more protective one.  She told everyone at school that I was “… a loser and a dickhead. Madeleine could do better”. I never lived that down. Now is my chance to put it right.  

 

I want to squeeze her bloodied hand in a man-like business hand shake. I am tactile.  I love living by touch. Her skin is soft and I can sense regret in her body.  Those green eyes are moist and puffy as if she has been crying. Despite our accidental late-night meeting I feel a huge amount of affection for this situation.

 

“I don’t want to be here,” Lucinda whispers to me and Donna.

 

‘My life is bad enough.  I don’t want it to get any worse.”

 

Donna puts her arms around her shoulders. “It’s alright honey.  We’ll get through this together.”

 

The boyfriend in the red van is clearly having nothing to do with today. He has headphones on and is nodding his big head while air- drumming with closed eyes. I’m glad of that.  It is already tense enough.

 

My love affair history always had me falling for the older one with some competition from the younger one.  Madeline won this one from the outset. I have often contemplated Lucinda’s resentment but my own comes into this equation too.

 

Donna walks with her arms still around Lucinda’s shoulders. Donna’s eyes are wet too but still as soft.

 

We sit opposite each other across the table in cheap plastic chairs that only a church would buy.

 

Lucinda pauses then lifts her bloodied right hand waving her ring finger right into my face.

 

“You’re that dickhead my sister was in love with.”

Comments

This is some of your best writing Ken. You capture the atmosphere between the characters and I the church hall is perfectly described. Yes, there are plastic chairs that only a church would buy. An undercurrent of humour weaves through this and brings a smile to the reader's heart. A good 'slice of life' read.
I have just got better by writing in various genres. Converting what is in my head to what is on paper and making it work/believable is labour intensive. The last 4 serials I've started are my best work so far because they come more naturally to me. Each time I reread them. I make sure I am really happy with the story before I make it public.