a rather small conversation

June 14, 2016 § 2 Comments

A story which I thought was incomplete as the rest of it is lost on my laptop and I can’t find it. But maybe it’s fine as it is. With thanks to Tove Jansson for being there…

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‘How would you know when you’d gone to heaven?’ asked Alice.

‘I’d just know,’ Gran replied.

‘How?’

‘I’d feel different.’

‘What kind of different?’

‘I’d feel calmer because people wouldn’t be bothering me with difficult questions all the time.’

‘What would it look like when you got there?’

Gran puffed up her cheeks and breathed out like she was a balloon and someone was letting all her air out. ‘I can’t be certain because I haven’t been there yet, and I haven’t talked to anyone who has either. I think it might look like that meadow over there.’

They went to have a proper look. The day was baking, the road was cracked and spattered with dried up cowpats, and all the wild flowers in the ditch were shrivelling up. They pushed open the gate and sat down in the long brown grass bending over from the weight of its seed heads. There were ripe buttercups to pick, and low spiky bushes of young blueberries hiding in the grass.

An earwig jumped off a seed head and crawled onto the old lady’s shoe. She picked a blade of grass and flicked it off.

‘Earwigs bite you know,’ said Alice.

‘Don’t think they do’, Gran replied. I’ve been in this world eighty eight years and I’ve not been bitten once.’

‘Well, I’ve been here eighty years less, and I have. Maybe you’ve never met a cross earwig.’

It crawled away and Alice wondered if it might come back and bite her. ‘Are there earwigs in heaven?’ she asked.

‘No,’ said the old lady firmly lying down on the grass and putting her sunhat over her face.

~

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