It’s funny where inspiration comes from- yesterday I parked the car a little out of the town centre, where I wouldn’t usually have to bother. It was busier than usual however so, needs must! I was just walking away from the car when a grandfather and daughter couple (I assumed!) passed me with the grandfather pushing the pram – the first line of this short story is exactly what he said to the baby in the pram-
“Is that lady running away from her inner demons, James?”
Baby James gurgled a response in his sleep but seemed otherwise blissfully unaware of the woman that had pounded, gasping sweatily, past his carriage.
“Give it a rest Dad.”, Martha murmured, rolling her eyes before shifting her gaze to the river to her right, glistening in the spring sunshine. She pulled her denim jacket tighter around her, arms crossed as if in a straight-jacket, shivering slightly despite the warm sunshine.
“I was talking about that lady – she looked tortured is all.”, her Dad gave James’ pram a little side-to-side wiggle so the wheels caught a puddle leftover from the previous nights downpour. The twin wheels described wet streaks over the pavement like a car lighting up its tyres at the beginning of a street race.
Martha frowned at the river and took a deep breath in through her nose before responding in clipped, acidic words, “Of course you were Dad- you can be just as judgemental about total strangers as you can about your daughter. Why should they be any different?” She kept walking as she heard the pram stop momentarily, feeling her father’s eyes burning into the back of her head. She fought all her urges to spin round and confront him, knowing that was what he was waiting for . A jet-ski fired up it’s engine further down the river, its angry wasp sound fading as it sped off in the opposite direction.
The sound of the pram wheels returned beside her. Martha smiled and moved her hands to her hips, letting the gentle breeze tug her jacket open a little. Sunshine alighted on her t-shirt clad body and fought with the spring breeze to warm her. It was Martha’s turn to stop walking and she stared, laser focused, at the back of her father as he took a few more steps before turning to face her.
“I’m not running – not any more, Dad. It’s time.”