The Walking Stick

Friday, 5 June 2015

Happy Weekend, everybody!  

While I wish I was soaking in the tub with a London Fog and a new book, I'm actually slouched here in front of my laptop catching up on readings for school, notes, et cetera.  For those of you who don't know, I am taking two courses this summer to count to my degree.  One is European Civilization from the High Middle Ages to the start of the Cold War.  The other is Creative Writing.  

Although I do love learning about history, I think the reason I find it so fascinating is because I see history as a very very long series of stories.  For me, history isn't about memorizing dates or having three solid body paragraphs to an essay, although I am bound by the nature of institutionalized education to learn those things.  History is about learning the stories of those who lived before us and appreciating the significance of their impact on our lives today.  

Anyway, enough rambling!  I have a short story for my creative writing class that I am more than happy to share.  Hence the short story shortly following.  Our assignment was to write 400 words relating to conflict and journey.  I haven't written anything like this before, but I wanted to try to convey the difficulty of living without sight.  I personally don't know what that would be like, but in trying to convey it to the reader, I was forced to rely on my descriptive writing capabilities for all the other senses.  


     The world is alive, humming and vibrating like a hive of angry yellow jackets.  Every fibre of my self, from thickened toe nail to strand of silvery hair, is awake and intent,  grasping at the senses they way I grasp my walking stick.  In a chokehold.  It is all I have to go by.  


I whirl around all too quickly, though of course I don’t expect to see her, and the speed of movement knocks me off balance.  A small, unwrinkled hand reaches out to steady me.  Then another, holding the shoulders of my crew neck sweater; the one Jane brought back for me from her honeymoon in Bermuda.  I can tell that’s the one - my favourite one - because of the ribbing around the collar, all bumpy between my fingers, and the raised appliqué of a little bird on the chest.

“Gran,” Karen cooed again.  “Doctor Martin is ready to see you.”  Her voice was a steaming mug of cocoa; it warmed my insides and washed away the cold.

I squeezed my cheeks up into a smile, gazing in what I thought to be her direction, though sounds can often be deceiving.  Karen’s hands smooth down the folds of my sweater - she doesn’t want me to lose her touch - and then she has reached my hands and enfolded them in hers.  She has always been thoughtful, always my anchor to the world beyond the darkness.

Soon, she’s pulling me gently, and I follow willingly.  The hum of patients’ voices gradually dissipates as more and more steps widen the space between us and the waiting room.  The only sounds are of Karen’s flip flops squelching against her feet and of my loafers shuffling along the carpeted hallway.  There is another set of footsteps ahead; a nurse I assume.  Suddenly, Karen comes to a halt, dropping one of my hands to reach for my shoulder again so that I know to stop too.  

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” a younger voice intones, which confirms that there is indeed a nurse here with us.  “Your grandmother is going to have to see Doctor Martin alone.”  

I can only hear the concern in Karen’s voice.  “I’ll be right here Gran, just the other side of the door.”

“My walking stick.”

Its familiar grip is slid into my hand, a door creaks open, and I step into the next room, alone.  

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