Thursday, 31 January 2013

Rewinding - Tall Poppies

I wrote this post a while ago for Write on  Wednesdays.

Sadly this writing group no longer exists and I've missed it!

It's possibly my personal favourite so I thought it was time to get it back out there.

As with almost all of my fiction it is based in fact - the pin exists, my Grandmother gave it to me when I was 13 just before she died and I wore it tucked into the lace of my stocking on my wedding day ...

Write On Wednesdays

The Write on Wednesday Spark:  Possessing Beauty
Write about a collection. Write about something you or ,someone you know, collects. Think about the "why" behind the collection - why is it important to collect this particular thing? How does it make the person feel to add another piece to their collection? Is the group of objects there to be seen, to be studied or simply kept together? Write a real life story or a piece of fiction. Wherever the prompt takes you...Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh, and enjoy!

This is a story that I've re-worked, I think I even published it for about 5 minutes a while ago.

It's been around for a while and the link, although slightly tenuous, seemed to me to fit with this weeks prompt.

Today seemed like the right day to bring it out (sorry, I've completely overshot the word count and time!)

Tall Poppies

The box was tucked away at the very back of the cupboard.

She hadn't thought about it for years and gradually it had been hidden under a pile of other things, all too precious to part with but without a place in her daily life.

Gently she traced the outline of the flowers painted on the lid.  Their vibrant colours had faded over the years.

The gilt edge of the box was worn and scuffed.

Sinking into the chair next to the bed, the box on her knee she mentally ran through the contents.

Wanting, before opening it, to reassure herself that she hadn't forgotten anything.

That the passing years hadn't dimmed the memories.

She place the box very precisely on the bedside table.  It seemed important that it should be just so.

 For a moment she was tempted to  just put the box back on the shelf and pretend she hadn't found it.

After all, she hadn't even been looking for it.

With a small sigh she lifted the lid and there, on the top, where she had laid it so long ago it was the gold pin.

It was for a scarf or maybe even a hat. The small golden cap that used to fit snugly over the sharp end to stop it from being lost was long gone but the pin, a delicate, tiny sapphire, surrounded by seed pearls in the shape of a daisy nestled in the tissue paper she had wrapped it in on the evening of her wedding day.

She remembered so clearly the day her Grandmother had given it to her.

She was 13.

Her Grandmother was dying and, although she hadn't been aware of it she thought now that perhaps her Grandmother had sensed that the end was near.

"Keep it safe" she had told her.  "Wear it on your wedding day.  Something old, something blue".

Many, many years later she did just that, threading the gold pin into the cream lace top of her stocking.

With the sharp point grazing her thigh as she walked down the aisle towards her future husband she had felt her Grandmother walked beside her.

Taking the pin from the box she turned it over and over in her hands.

Smoothing the petals with her fingertips.

If she could see her now, what would she think?

"Tall poppies" she would say.

"Remember, the  tall poppies may flaunt themselves in a field of wheat.

They may think they are special because they stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Because they are brighter and their beauty draws the eye.

Because the bees stop by and the butterflies rest a while.

But come harvest time the combine doesn't see the difference between the wheat and the poppies.

The combine cuts everything in it's path".

She hadn't listened.  She had thought her Grandmother was wrong.

She had basked in the warmth.

She had weathered the storms.

Her petals darkened slightly, bearing watermarks from falling rain, her marriage failed but still she reached out towards the sun.

And her Grandmother was wrong.

The end didn't come from the combine harvester after all.

The end came from the scythe.

A sweeping cut so low and so swift that she didn't feel the pain until she was already falling.

Into the dust, petals crushed and torn under careless feet.

The wheat closed in above her and turned it's face back to the sun as though the tall poppy had never been.


Kelloggs Ville said...

that's completely moving. Your ends always leave me thinking but I'm never totally satisfied.

Sarah said...

Thanks K - I think I'm always reluctant to have definative endings because that leaves you nowhere to go - I'm not very good at closing doors behind me ;)