Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Strange Meeting. A short story in the Yorkshire Post

Recently Mick was invited by the Yorkshire Post newspaper to write something in under 300 words on 'what I’d tell myself as a teenager'. This is the full version. An edit appeared in the Yorkshire Post in December 2011.

Strange Meeting

We meet on the platform at Haworth station. It’s 1976. I say “Micky, keep your Hawkwind posters; in 30 years you’ll sell them on something called eBay.” I earn a blank look but it breaks the ice.

In The Fleece we reminisce about ‘our’ dad; how he revealed the past as a fascinating place by telling great stories about his Sheffield childhood and his time in the RAF. When Micky tells me he might write a book one day and call it Tail-End Charlie I give him a conspiratorial grin.

Micky reminds me how dad is always telling him to get his hair cut. I chew that memory; it tastes better now I have four sons of my own.

I thought dad would live forever back then. But one morning in 1977 he went off to work and I never saw him again . . . Of course I don’t tell myself that. What I do suggest is to consider parents as a library; a treasure trove; a word-hoard of memories and experiences. Their stories need to be coaxed, appreciated, respected, remembered and passed on. Because there will come a day . . . and much sooner than you think.

Then the landlady cuts things short “TIME GENTLEMAN PLEASE!” As I board the Worth Valley express to 2011 Micky asks shyly, “What’s the journey going to be like then?”

I reply, “Very fast, but with stunning views . . .”

That should be the end of this strange meeting, but as the train pulls out of the station, I can’t resist leaning out of the window and shouting “HEY MICKY! GET YOUR HAIR CUT!”