I'm Issy.
I'm 14 and an aspiring artist and author.
Black Lives matter.
Bi puns
Murder mystery TV shows
Shakespeare poetry
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Remember to write even if you think you are bad at it, you're not

On Track To France

October 8, 2020


Eighteen-year-old January Humphries was sick of life in St Mewump. It was a nice village, the people were friendly, the old stone walls and sprawling fields were charming. But there was something about it that bored her half to death, it wasn't something about St Mewump exactly, but it was something that wasn't there. January longed for distant coastlines and dark allies. She wanted to know of the world outside, of the big cities and of the towns at the bases of mountains. The German had a word for it, fernweh, unlike the people of St Mewump. St Mewumpians were the picture of English small-town stereo-types. They liked to stay put. Travel was simply never on the agenda for St Mewumpians. In January's opinion, they just liked sitting around eating sponge-cake and drinking tea.
    "Good mornin' Miss Humphries," the postman Gregory Thatch said, tipping his flat cap at her as he sped past on his bicycle. Gregory Thatch was a kindly old man of 72, who had been the postman in St Mewump for as long as anyone could remember and showed no intention of resigning any time in the foreseeable. The town needed very few postmen, hardly anyone really saw the point of sending letters. Everyone that was worth talking to lived within a twelve kilometer radius and if they didn't people would simply catch up when they came to visit. 
    January continued on her way. She was walking to the post office, as she had a sneaking suspicion that something may be waiting for her there. 
    She passed the chapel, the sheering shed and old Mrs. Davidson's house. The birds sung in the trees, with an air of excitement, as if they new that something interesting was happening. A scarecrow stared at January from the barely field and she could have sworn there was a glint in it's granite eyes. 
    She arrived at the post office, after a brisk walk. Asking Ivy -the middle-aged woman who ran the post office- if there was any post for her, January was informed that, yes in fact, there was a parcel behind the counter for her and something waiting outside in the yard. This had to be what she thought it was.
    Ivy produced a small package, rapped in pale-pink paper. It was about the size of a small dictionary, with a little card attached to a yellow ribbon rapped around it. 
    January bounced on the balls of her feet, excited to see if it was what she thought. She was one of the only people in St Mewump who wrote letters on a regular basis, James's last one had ended with something rather mysterious. He'd signed it off Until we meet again, which may be sooner than you'd expect. P.S. I think you'd find it advantageous to learn the basics of French. 
    January left the post office with a skip in her step, turning and continuing into the small yard. At the back was a shed and a water-trough, with a wooden fence edging the grassy spot and a picnic table against the stone wall of the post office. Standing there, in the mid-day sun, was James.
    January gasped, well, she was probably right that that was who the parcel was from. She hadn't seen James since the holiday, five months ago. She ran to hug the lad, mussing his hair up and embracing him tightly. James had been January's friend since they were six, she'd missed him so much since he'd moved away to London. If only they could travel the world together, like they had dreamed of as children, But that wasn't going to happen. Shortly after he'd moved, James's father had fallen ill. James had been helping him.  
    "How are you here, James?" January asked, kicking the dirt and marveling at how he hadn't told her.
    "Dad has a new partner, you know how hard Mum's death hit him and he's hated it being just me and him alone in such a lonely house, with so many bad memories. Now he's quite a lot better, they both thought it was a good idea for me to go on this trip."
    James's mother had died in a tragic car crash three years ago. The road had been covered in black ice and she'd been out at night, in winter.
    January went silent. She had been almost as sad when Amy Archibald had died as if she were her own mother. She also new James had suffered as much as his father at her death.
    "James," she blinked quickly to keep from crying. "I know you miss her just as much as your dad."
    He bit his lip. "Yeah, but I'm okay now. She wouldn't have wanted us to be sad, she wouldn't have wanted to see Dad so ill and suffering. She'd have liked Kerry."
    January clasped her hands together. "So, why exactly are you here?"
    "It's a surprise. To get it you'll have to open the package."
    January set the package down on the picnic table. She carefully pulled off the ribbon, taking off the little card and looking at it. There was a picture of a croissant and a steaming mug of something. January tucked the card into her dress pocket. She proceeded to take the tape off the paper, bit by bit.
    James sighed exasperatedly. Ever since they were little, January was the person at birthdays and Christmas who took twenty minutes to un-rap her presents. He gave her a friendly tap on the arm. "Are you un-rapping it or getting ready to put it in a museum?"
    January smiled. "Patience, grasshopper." She continued taking the tape off until the paper was all free, then took it off, folding it neatly before she even looked to see what it was she was being given. When January finally looked at it, her smile widened. She turned and hugged James again.
    "So, you like it?"
    January's mouth twisted into a slight smirk. "Does it mean we're finally going to travel the world?" She turned back to the book sitting on the table. English to French: Translations and Basic Fraises. 
    James grinned widely. "We're goin' to France."
January looked out the window of the old train. The fields and trees whizzed by in a blur. It was strange, leaving St Mewump. She new it wouldn't be the last time she saw the small town, but something about this train-ride felt final, as if even if she came back, she would be a different person. She would be no-longer the country girl who longed to see other places, but the powerful young woman who had been places and seen the real world. 
    It was four days since James had arrived in St Mewump, just enough time to inform January's parents of her and James's plans for travel. Not that she had to ask their permission, she was eighteen now and it was her life and her decision to make. James and January had planned the first part of their trip. As it turned out, he had booked them tickets on and old train from London to France. January's Mum, Gemma drove them from St Mewump into London and they were on their own after that. 
    James sat in the seat beside her, pointing things out every few minutes. "Do you want to play I spy?" he asked, popping a Cola Bottle into his mouth. Although he had turned eighteen recently, he acted like a ten-year-old in January's opinion. What kind of eighteen-year-old plays I spy?
Ugh, fine." She pretended to not want to, but in truth, January had always enjoyed playing I spy on long trips. 
    The two played the game for at least a hour, pointing out everything from sheep-dogs to wheat fields. And one -apparently lost- traveling circus. They earned some odd looks from their fellow passengers, to teenagers shamelessly playing I spy. 
    After they'd been on the train for an hour and a half, January thought there would be about another hour left. She was about to tell James this, but realized her friend was sound asleep. He had been awake past midnight the previous night, planning their destinations everywhere from Avignon to Marseille. 
    January put her jacket over him and pulled her book out of one of her enormous dress pockets. As she did so, something fell out. Bending down to pick it up, she realized it was the card from the gift James had given her. She opened it, realizing she was yet to read it, as she'd forgotten about it after putting it in her pocket for safe keeping. Inside it was a quote. Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets - Oscar Wilde 
January couldn't help but smile. She was finally living out what she and her best friend in the world had dreamed of for years, they were on track for France. 


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  • October 8, 2020 - 10:37pm (Now Viewing)

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