I finally plucked up the courage to enter an online writing competition run by a Facebook group Bristol & Somerset Folklore & History. They used a picture as a prompt to write about by previous photographic competition winner Gill Pettitt. Here is my story which won the competition.
The day gently dawns. I sit behind my window with the net curtains pushed off to one side and watch as Jack Frost kisses his surroundings and leaves everything he touches coated in a dusting of frozen dew, gradually as the light grows stronger the surroundings appear starker, whiter and less romantic. My gaze falls beyond the frost kissed trees and bushes and settles on the field, soon people will start appearing, walking their dogs and making their way to work and the day will open up much as any other but in these moments the world is still and there is no one here except for me.
This is the time of the day where I could easily believe that I am the only person in the world or that there are endless possibilities to be had in this day, something amazing could happen or it could be the day I leave this earth. Such thoughts flit through my mind and I find cold comfort in them as I pull my dressing gown a little tighter around me. Who would miss me if I were to die, here, now, would I be found or would I be left here to lie untouched for weeks, maybe months? If I were no longer here would the days still be the same, would Jack Frost continue his quest of covering the world in white or would all of this beauty die with me? As this morbid line of thought flits across my consciousness I hear the echoing bark of the first dog of the day and catch the blur of a ball flying across my line of vision, swiftly followed by a scruffy black dog bounding in the same direction. I envy dogs it doesn’t take much to make them happy, if only it was so easy with humans. The dog’s owner comes into view, easy to spot in pink and red leggings. I push myself out of my chair and raise my arm, waving to her but she’s just too far away to notice me, I wonder if she knows that I watch her every morning as she exercises her dog. I’ve never met her but in my mind she has a happy name like Lucy or Sally and she works as a nurse, she looks kind, helpful, happy, just the kind of person that everyone would like and look up to, I’d like to meet her one day just to see if I’m right, I’ve built her a complete life in my own mind, with a big family and friends, I hope she lives it well.
Shortly afterwards others arrive, I sit here counting them in and counting them back out again and still not one of them notices me sitting here observing them, sometimes two or more of them will stop and chat, if they happen to look my way I wave at them but they never seem to see me, it’s an awful feeling being invisible.
I have my other window on the world in the form of my computer, there I have people who call themselves friends but they have never visited me or sat alongside me with a cup of tea asking about my life or how I am feeling, still it’s better than having no one at all to talk to. I try to stretch out my useless old leg but it’s too stiff and refuses to work anymore. It feels cruel that the body ages and disintegrates whilst my mind is still so fresh and eager to be used but sadly people don’t see beyond the shell. I look up but all of the dog walkers have moved on now and the frost is starting to disappear, uncovering the sight of a lush green field.
One of these days I will be free of this stiff old body and my spirit will once more run over the fields alongside the dogs and soar above them amongst the birds, that day ever closer.