Another Blonde Chapter (the bit in between)
[Those of you who read the six word version ~ ‘’There she was … another blonde chapter’; will notice that this is a bit longer ~ it’s the bit in between].
There she was Fresh faced, little make up, and the loveliest blonde hair you ever did see, kinda girl you’d notice; and I did, she was worth noticing. She was indeed the loveliest person I had ever seen, reminded me pretty much of Michael an Israeli soldier I had met during the Six Days War.
“I’m off out Mum ~ promise I’ll not be too long, homework’s finished”. He made his way down town to a hall where men and big boys gathered. Almost every night, they’d be there, slot cars to race. He was quiet but everybody noticed him, he was the little kid with a lisp and a limp, but they didn’t pay him any attention. He just watched the cars whizzing round the track, hour after hour, race after race, night after night, victory after victory, and crash after crash.
Sometimes the green ones would win then other times it would be the blue cars. But most of the time it would be the red ones, they were the fastest. His favourite however was the little yellow one. It never did win. But still he would keep his eye on it. Cars would sometimes end up off the track at one of the tight bends or corners, and more often or not it was the little yellow one.
So night after night, he would place himself there, hoping it would win, but if it did come off, then he’d be in the best place to get it back on it’s way again.
“And how’s you” I asked. I had known her a few months now, we didn’t say very much but we liked each other’s work. Her landscapes always seemed empty, but ever so serene and tranquil, and yet I was amazed how much she could read into my deep dark intense images, often seeing things that even I the author hadn’t even noticed. Sometimes she was light and possessed the unbridled laughter of silly girls, splendid, superb, stunning, and sometimes even seismic. Other times she had the splendid silliness of girls and bore the sense of someone who was ‘’all knowing’ when they smiled that look.
But this night she looked down, like her world was off the tracks. Cats and scratches she had another run in with her female boss at work now that was the last straw, so she quit. And it wasn’t going to be easy getting another job.
And to cap it all she broke up with the boy she’d been seeing. “Fourth one in two years, she said, and none of them ever work out, either I don’t understand them, or they don’t understand me”. ’’You look as if you need a shoulder’’. ‘’want to go for a coffee and talk about it’’.
“It’s because you both are going in ever different directions. Maybe you don’t know what direction you’re heading in, and so maybe you end up in circles and going down the wrong path. But don’t worry we all do that at times, even me”. Then I posed her a riddle. What’s more important when you’re going on a journey? Departure, direction, distance or destination?
Tonight there were some new people there, the little yellow racing car had changed hands, where it was scratched and dented, there was now a new paint job, and it looked as if the mechanics and engine were revised, and new tires put on it. The boy was really looking to see how this new improved version would go, and was pleased that someone was at last paying attention to it and giving it some TLC. But just then the guy in charge of the hall came up to him. His mum was outside, He had to go somewhere with her.
After many years away, I returned home, all my projects finished, From Canada, to Chile, from Colombia to the China Electric Power Company. There was a new supermarket in town. It was huge, and it was on the site of that little shop in York Street where I had my first job as a kid. I needed to pick up a few things, and wandered round the aisles amazed at all the things we now needed to live. It seems like we didn’t have a tenth of those needs when I was last here.
But the boy in me somehow directed and motioned me to the toy aisle curious to see what boys were being offered today. And then I saw him, the cheekiest little kid I ever saw, with a frown on his face, and a tear in his eye. He was looking up his little hands trying to reach for something on a higher shelf than he could reach. ‘Which one do you want’ I asked.
‘Red one, red ones always were the fastest’. He replied. I reached it down to him, and before I realised there I was a grown man now in my senior years, a stranger playing with a kid in the toy aisle floor as he demonstrated his conviction that red ones were the fastest by us pushing it back and forward to each other.
‘I’ll get Mom’, I heard the voice of a little girl say. But before she could even turn I heard another voice. ‘Mom’s here’. I turned round to find my face almost pressed into these gorgeous long legs, black stockinged legs that lead up to a red skirt, the kinda shade of red that always said rich. I gazed at a well designed well cut white linen jacket that always said class, with the most beautiful long blonde hair falling over the shoulders.
I slowly pulled my way up off the floor, thinking of what excuses I could use for being down there in the first place.
‘And how’s you she asked. See you still have that bad leg, after all these years. Want to go for a cup of coffee? I think I owe somebody one from quite a few years back’.
We paid for our purchases separately, and the little boy got his red car.
‘So tell me what’s happened, these two yours’?
She started talking, and I listened, something I learned a long time ago that you do when you were around women.
‘It all started with a blank sheet of paper this guy gave me, one night long ago. He told me to go home and put it in an envelope, and hide it where girls hide things, and don’t open it for ten years’.
‘I was just about to write down on it the four dreams he said that little girls have when they want to become women ……. ‘
She stopped abruptly, went to her handbag and pulled out a business card. And on the back of it drew a large plus sign, which divided the white space into four.
On the first square she drew a house on a hill, with a river running beside it, with what appeared to be an open top convertible beside it, and a swing.
In the second she drew a young man and his young woman, holding hands.
In the third she drew a modern office block, the drawing so good I recognised the outline from it as one I had passed the other day when getting the bus home from the airport.
The fourth I also recognised, two kids, a boy and a girl.
At this she passed me the card, the little girl’s Amy, the boys called …..
Funny that I thought, the same name as me.
‘This guy, he told me go home, write down my dreams on a piece of paper, and put it away; then let the dreams unfold’. I didn’t, instead I drew little pictures, pretty much like these and in doing so realised I did have a talent I could use.
‘The office block contains my business I’m into corporate graphic design and marketing, and even though I say it myself, I’ve done pretty well. A few weeks after you left for overseas I started a course, and after a lot of soul searching, everything seemed to fall into place; and eventually I graduated and set up this business’.
‘Then one day this young man came into my office, and my life, and that pretty much explains the first picture and the last’.
I offered to pay for the coffee, but she refused, you know what these modern independent young women are like!
‘Well how did your night go?’ Mum asked. ‘Sometimes the little yellow cars do win Mum’.
And so ends another blonde chapter.
You can take the boy out of Belfast, but you can’t take the Belfast out of the boy.
Book about a boy and a blonde from the Belfast of Van Morrison
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