The Cathedral was packed.
“Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Black and yellow, red and white
They’re all precious…”
Suddenly, the unholy little terror broke free from his mother’s grasp.
“Gallop! Gallop! Gallop!” He squealed, charging down the aisle riding his horsey. Even overpowering the organ, his clip-clopping sandals thundered over the floorboards.
Heads turned! Eyes glared!
Exhausted, his mother unconsciously staggered in his wake. Number Two on the way, she was no longer “Princess” but “Mummy”. No more putting her feet up!
“Such is life!” her mother always says.
February 24, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about galloping. It doesn’t have to be about horses. Is galloping a burst of energy, a run for freedom? Or is it a sense of urgency that borders on anxiety to get tasks accomplished? Explore the motion in different ways — a galloping stride, a galloping relationship or a galloping mind.
Today, I was on the train down to Sydney and decided to write my take on “Gallop.”
I’ve been writing flash fiction for a few weeks now and have really been surprised at what I’ve been able to write within this very short word limit.
You see, while Dorothy Parker might have said: “Brevity is the soul of lingerie”, getting to the point has never been my strength. Indeed, I’ve often had trouble finding it at all. But John Lennon was on my side: “Life is what you live while making other plans.”
It really is quite challenging to create a character, a complication and any kind of resolution in only 99 words and yet it’s much more doable than I thought. Indeed, these stories can pack quite a punch.
Anyway, here I am back on the train thinking about galloping. Of course, my first thought was about how time is constantly galloping away but that’s nothing new.
Next, I thought about how my Great Grandmother went to the horse races back in the Great Depression and used to bet on a great Australian horse called Phar Lap and had won enough money to buy my grandmother a coat. This story had legs but required further research.Not something I could put together on the train.
However, while all these ponderings were in motion, I was distracted by a little boy aged about three or four who was seemingly travelling with his Mum and Grandmother. He was absolutely gorgeous and reminded me of my son at that age. Mister loved anything even remotely to do with trains and both kids have loved catching the train into the city. Indeed, I still remember how much I loved it and I get a thrill when the train rumbles over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s truly exciting…even for a grown up!
So, I’m writing and yet captivated by this little boy and also by how his Mum and Grandmother are engrossed in conversation and he’s an interruption. Well, at least most of the time.
As the train rumbles towards Milson’s Point Station which is located right on the Northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, we go through a tunnel and I hear his excited little voice call out: “Tunnel! Tunnel! Tunnel!” The rest of the carriage is virtually silent so his little voice really carried but rather than being annoyed, it seemed that all of the passengers were just struck by how melt-in-the-mouth cute he was. His enthusiasm was so infectious (not unlike a cold on the train!!!)
“Tunnel! Tunnel! Tunnel” became “Gallop! Gallop! Gallop!” There are few worse places for little kids to go for a noisy gallop than in Church, especially in a very stiff upper lip kind of Cathedral…the sort with an organ.
Managing boisterous children in Church has inevitably always been an issue. After all, sitting still and being quite is mission impossible for most young children. That is, unless you’re blessed to have one of those angelic colouring-in types. The kids kids don’t even need to be “bad” to offend. Or, have any kind of diagnosis. Just being a kid really seems to be enough.
I do sometimes wonder whether children are truly welcome at Church or merely tolerated. That said, we’ve attended a very child-friendly Church for the last few years. They’ve gone to a great deal of trouble and have a special family service on Friday nights where we have a meal together and the service itself has songs where the children can dance as well as dress-ups to enact the stories. These are simple things really but they work more with the nature of children than being diametrically opposed.
Mind you, after advocating for making Church more child-friendly, I must admit I really do enjoy my peace and quiet.
Indeed, silence is golden!