Little bit of fiction…
“The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.”
Today’s assignment: ‘Hone Your Point of View’ – Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.
” A memory of dad “
The air seemed fresher after the rain, the whole street was flooded, which happened every now and then after heavy storms. Henry stayed all day in the window, praying for the rain to stop…he was eager to see his friends and just enjoy the last week of his summer holiday.
Today he had his grandmother with him as both of his parents were away. They were away from home many times and Henry grew up mostly with his grandparents…there were times when he would question why they are always on the road, but his father had the same answer every time:
“It’s all for you Henry, so you can enjoy a better life when you grow up, so we can keep a roof over our heads and have nice things!”
“Nice things…”, he never understood that one. Surely what he had didn’t cost that much.
They lived across from Mrs. Pauley, who was a lovely old lady, famous in the neighbourhood for her cakes. She always seemed so happy, but since her husband passed away no one saw her smile or bake anymore… It was such a shame because Henry missed her triple chocolate cake terribly…cake, she made almost every Saturday for all the children living on Ivy Bridge Road.
I never liked the rain, what is to like about it? I don’t understand mum, when she says that the sound of rain gives her peace…but what do I know?, thought Henry while drawing boats on the window with his finger.
The rain stopped and he felt so happy that he jumped of the window seal and stormed out the door onto the street. He looked left and right but didn’t see any of his friends anywhere…
”Maybe they didn’t see that the rain stopped”!
He decided to wait a little bit longer, he sat down on the concrete steps in front of the house and watched the people passing by still holding open umbrellas.
That’s strange, didn’t they see the rain stopped?, he thought. Hey, sir…the rain stopped, you don’t need your umbrella anymore!, he said smiling to the gentleman walking slowly by the front of the house.
He didn’t seem to hear Henry and just kept walking without acknowledging anyone on the street. Henry didn’t pay anymore attention to him and stood up to see if any of his friends came out yet, when he saw two police officers and another well dressed man walking towards Mrs. Pauley house.
He took a step back and suddenly a terrible thought crossed his mind.
Maybe something happened with Mrs. Pauley! Last time I remember seeing police officers, something bad happened! I know because no one ever talked about it afterwords, mum just said that Mr. Whitehall was very sick and they had to take him to the hospital…and because he didn’t have anyone to take care of him, the police officer and an ambulance took him away. He never came back… I’ve asked father a couple of times, where Mr. Whitehall was now, but his answer wasn’t very clear, “he is in a better place”. I never understood that… I think he died and everyone was too sad to remember…
Mrs. Pauley came to the door, she looked frightened!
I am so happy she was all right , thought Henry, still not understanding what was happening. The man in a suit seemed familiar but Henry couldn’t see his face as he was with his back to him, talking quietly but slightly angry with Mrs.Pauley.
Mrs. Pauley started crying and Henry stood up and for a moment wanted to go across the street. He didn’t really know what would he do once he got there but he felt so sorry for her.
Mary, his grandmother noticed from the kitchen window what was happening outside…in a few seconds she was out on the stairs as well: “ Henry, please come in…the table is set, you must be hungry”, said Mary hoping she could avoid Henry witnessing a scene that might happen across the street.
Sadly the neighbourhood knew that Mrs. Pauley was in a financial difficulty since her husband died, but no one thought things would get to this stage.
I don’t want to come in, I am not hungry…. What is happening with Mrs. Pauley?, asks Henry with a scared voice.
“Nothing is happening dear, everything will be just fine”, said Mary, trying to reassure the boy and at the same time not really knowing how bad things could evolve from here. Henry went in eventually, but he couldn’t stop looking back…
I am not hungry, I am really not, he said trying to stay as close to the window as possible. Why no one wants to tell me what’s happening, I know about bad things, sad things…
Mary cooked her famous lasagna which made Henry really happy and for a second he turned away from the window and tried to eat … after a few minutes he looked outside but he couldn’t see anyone across the street.
Will Mrs.Pauley come back?, he asked Mary.
“ Don’t be silly, she didn’t go anywhere…look, she is at the window”, said Mary pointing towards Mrs.Pauley’s house.
I didn’t understand what happened and grandma didn’t want to talk about it…in a way I was just happy that she didn’t leave…I looked outside, smiled and waved at her, she waved back but she seemed sad. Later that evening when mum and dad came home, some of our other neighbours came over to our house, I wasn’t allowed to stay in the living room because it was a grown-ups thing, they had to talk about… I know I shouldn’t have, but I hid under the stairs because I wanted to know why there are so many people in our house. I remember dad saying Mrs. Pauley was in trouble and as a community we had to help her in any way we can… I remember his words exactly because for the first time I’ve realised, he liked Mrs.Pauley too even if he never said it. After that evening dad went over to Mrs.Pauley and I am not sure what happened but I saw her crying and hugging him outside her house…she didn’t seem that sad anymore, but she was still crying. I’ve asked dad if that man in a suit and the police officers will be back to upset Mrs. Pauley, he looked at me smiling: “Don’t you worry about that, no one will upset Mrs. Pauley”. I knew he was telling the truth, I don’t know why, I just believed him…
Picture, courtesy of The Daily Post, Writing 101
Note from the author:
I’ve tried to tell the story from a memory point of view…with a bit a character building at the beginning!
I’ve enjoyed this assignment very much:)
The end made me realise that The story came out to be more a memory of a 12-year-old boy about his relationship with his father…which was a nice surprise for my writing style!