Emerald Bolts Emma Lindsay A Magazine for Flash Fiction

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Ms Hardy Can't Reach This


My Secondary School was a dreary place. Chewing gum stuck to the furniture, the walls were a drab cream colour and graffiti advanced like mould over every available surface.
   Ms Hardy was a short teacher. At the top of the blackboard, written in plain white chalk, read the words "Ms Hardy can't reach this," and indeed she could not.
   Each Irish class would begin the same. Ms Hardy would arrive and pull a chair close to the board to remove the offending script. The class would erupt in smirks and sniggers from behind their tattered text books.
   Ms Hardy would scan the room for an eraser. Grins would get wider as she realises there isn’t one. Then bravely admitting defeat she would continue the class without any acknowledgement of the aberrant chalk message floating above her.  
   I stood in front of the class and read aloud once. I was nervous and desperate to return to the comfort of my seat. "Don’t go at it like a bull in a China shop," came the stark remarks from this educator; the one who was supposed to encourage me.
   The words lingered in the air. My pulse raced and my head heated. "Why must she address me in that manner?" I thought.
   Nonetheless I remained silent. We are not allowed to talk back to teachers. We are not allowed to tell them if we think they are rude.
   The only route to rebellion stood firm at the top of the blackboard. Not just the message on the board, but the three erasers resting hidden on top. We could see them. She could not. In resentment I stared at those erasers and reasoned, I have not been defeated. I have fought back and prevailed.





Other Mother

I was three when Alice entered my life. By the time I was five she was a permanent figure. She married my dad that year. My mum said it would never last; that my father couldn’t commit to anyone, but she was wrong and by the age of eight I considered Alice my second mother. Alice gave me two sisters. Living with her and Dad for three days of the week, created a family environment that seemed absent between mum and I in our apartment for the other four.
   At Alice’s house we’d all play pranks on each other and I’d teach my sisters how to hide their unwanted green vegetables in the plant pots beside the kitchen table. We all went on family holidays together; Spain, Florida and France too. One summer Alice taught me and my sisters how to swim and a few years later she bought me my first boogie board.
   At twelve, Alice held my hand when my father spoke to me about his Cancer. She held me through the night as I cried. At his funeral she spoke of the great life we had all had together.
   Afterwards my mum said legally I belonged to her. Legal meant nothing to me. I knew that I belonged with Alice and my sisters too. I went to visit them on holidays and the seldom other occasions my mum allowed It, but we lost touch. I went to college and never saw Alice while there. Life drifted on. The memories of my life with Alice and my father started to fade.
   At forty I was saddened by my mother’s passing. At the funeral I noticed a familiar face. Alice approached and comforted me. 
   Afterwards she took me to visit my sisters. We spend time together and remembered the ‘old days’; the holidays we had together and the games we all loved to play as a family. I cried but was unsure what was causing the tears. My mother was gone, yet another had returned.

   


    


- Emma Lindsay (Ireland)



Emma Lindsay is from Dublin, Ireland. She is currently working on a novel in the young adult, fantasy fiction genre. She was long listed for the Fish Poetry prize in 2011 and the Fish Flash Fiction prize in 2013.




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 Copyright © Emerald Bolts Magazine, 2013
The front page image is copyright © by Tony Kitterick, 2012