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Friday, 11 September 2015

Short Stories | Satchel's Intro

"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."
Mark Twain

You may remember a while back, if you're been frequenting my blog for long, I posted a short story I wrote for my English Language GCSE creative writing controlled assessment. If you missed it you can read it here.  Well this time I decided to do something a little different. I have a few stories in the works and random scenes and characters that have come to mind that don't have a story just yet. I figured sharing them and getting feedback may help inspire the rest of the story. I'm not really sure where this piece of writing came from. It was one of those times the first line came to me and it kind of just snowballed. I still haven't fully figured out where this story is going yet and I guess you could consider this a rough draft but I hope you enjoy this introduction to Satchel.

To say he had demons was an understatement. Satchel was riddled with them. How could he not be with a fucking name like Satchel?
His mother, Cara, had thought she was being real cute when she named him that. She'd always prided herself on the uniqueness and sentimentality of her name choices. She'd named all her children after things she'd loved. First came Tea Pot and Moped, his two older sisters, named after their mother's love of her tea pot collection and moped. Now, those seem so much more ridiculous than Satchel, but they had the luxury of shortening their names to Tea, pronounced tee-ah, and Mo. They were never actually known by their full names, so they'd never felt the burden of them. If anything, their names were a quirky ice breaker story in the right circumstances. There wasn't much you could do with Satchel, or at least Cara had never seen any reason to and therefore everyone had always referred to him by his full, awful, name.

The teasing by his peers hadn't started right away. I mean, most kids weren't even aware of what a satchel was. The only reason he'd known was because he'd heard the story so many damn times. When his mum was high she'd regale her children with the stories of their names and the things they were named after. He'd been named after the satchel his father had given his mother on their first anniversary. Cara had been so smitten with him and the satchel that she'd carried it with her everywhere, even after he'd taken off after finding out she was pregnant. People would ask her why she didn't get rid of it. After all, it was given to her by a man who had left her single, with two kids and another on the way. Even if the latter was the only one that was his. Cara would quite simply reply, "Something doesn't become less precious or beautiful once you find the gifter to be less than perfect." She'd rest a hand on her stomach as she said it, underlining the fact she wasn't only talking about the bag. When Cara looked at the satchel she didn't think of a man who'd abandoned her. No, she thought of how she felt when she'd been given it. His mother had always concentrated on the good.

It was something Satchel wished she'd passed on to him. His sister's had it in their very bones. Tea and Mo could find the bright side in a black hole. Something they maintained even throughout their mother's illness, death and every day after. It was part of the reason he hadn't seen either of them since the day of the funeral. Despite her questionable choice in names, Satchel loved his mother. He was in awe of how Cara lived her life and the woman she was. Maybe someone else would have found his sister's likeness to her comforting, like part of her was still with him. But Satchel did not. Once again he found himself drawn to the dark rather than the bright side. Their likeness served only to remind him that she was gone and he, the miserable bastard, was still very much here.

It took everything he had to stay during his mother's illness but Satchel knew he had to see it through until it's natural conclusion. Even in her last days Cara held her relaxed and happy disposition. It was like a calm had come over her and she'd accepted what was to be. It may have been the pain meds and the weed, but Satchel had a feeling even without either of them she'd have been much the same. At the funeral Tea had taken his hand as they stood, watching the coffin as it was lowered into the ground. She whispered to him, "You know she seen the goodness in every day. Every single one of them. Found happiness in the smallest of things, the most mundane things in life. I think that's why he took her before we were ready to let go and why she accepted it so easily. She and God both knew she'd lived in such a way that she'd had enough happiness for a hundred lifetimes. I take comfort knowing that." Her gaze had been on the coffin as she'd spoken but as she finished Tea looked up to him and her hand squeezed his. Satchel looked down at his sister for a moment and he knew then he had to leave.

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