Chapter 6

Written by: Anna Zhigareva

Red-lipsticked mouth in what now seems to be a permanent pout, Mrs Knight sits – no, reclines, as madame must – in the back of the now scrubbed clean Mustang. I weave my way through the town’s tree-lined alleys and onto the main road towards the Station, which sits on the edge of our close-knit community.


My dignity still a little bruised after wiping the pooh off my usually immaculate white backseat as the tyrant looked on, I try to imitate Mrs. Knight’s pout to amuse her indignant self. She stares to the side, completely unaware, at my rising appetite’s delight, probably mentally telling off the young cyclist who’s just swerved unceremoniously to avoid a pothole. A worse driver would have clipped him but I swiftly avoid the youngster probably making his way to a part-time job down in the “Village”. The “Village” is actually the town’s centre, long since grown out of its miniscule scale.


Several centuries back, a group of traveling circus artists broke camp here in the valley’s only village in the middle of a cold winter’s day. To their great delight, exploring the valley that afternoon, the wanderers discovered a series of hot water pools rising up the hill. Over time, the artists used this place more and more as their resting place as they travelled from city to city, performing for big crowds. The valley’s farmers made them feel at home here like no where else, or so read the old journals. Some artists settled, deciding to promote the local hot springs. Unsurprisingly, as bigger investors flocked to the area, introducing a railroad, the town grew into a gorgeous New England settlement, boasting beautiful Victorian weatherboard houses and colourful gardens.


By the time my century rolled around, the hot springs had depleted and the noisy railroad had made the town an unlikely place for new people to settle. Boston had grown to almost twice its size and had basically engulfed our little borough. But the quirky nature of the people that had settled in this valley remained. Perhaps the officer hadn’t been far off when he’d asked Gerard if he worked for the circus. Maybe Gerard had an artistic streak in his bloodline. I’d never asked.


“Mrs Knight…?” I ventured, trying to break the sweltering fury that had grown between me and my still-boyfriend’s mother.


But it was not to be. I braked a little roughly turning into the Police Station and, flustered, knocked the curb before we bumped our way up the moguls of driveway. Mrs. Knight let out an ear-heating streak of profanities, all in my direction of course.


So madame could let slide a few obscenities. Maybe I could roll with that, I thought. If that’s how she liked it – pure, unkempt emotion – I’d give it to her fair and square. Parked just outside the yellowing, plastered buildings, we power-walked into what only the camel – in his quiet philosophical broodings – could perhaps presume was about to ensue.


This is such fun and written with a thread of ironic amusement weaving through it.. It is really clever and I found myself comparing it to Alice in Wonderland's fantasy, allegory. Believable but unbelievable which is quite a feat in writing.