Molly_

United Kingdom

16
She/her
Will fight you if you aren't kind to yourself.

There is nothing else remotely interesting about me that I could write here.
Erm.
No, that's literally it.

Message to Readers

I wrote this sat on my kitchen counter on many, MANY post-it-notes in a weird red pen that leaked all over my hands. You didn't need to know that. I just thought it was a fun tidbit of information.

Cake and Custard

January 18, 2021

FREE WRITING

1

Sat in the tree at the bottom of the garden, hidden high in the boughs 
That was the day we laughed ‘til we cried, tears streaming down our faces like sap down the oak
It was the day Billie Porter went soaring from his bike after nicking our ball and broke his leg. He was in a cast for weeks, remember? God, it was the funniest thing in the world, wasn’t it? 
When we were seven, lurching away from his mates. But we were faster, you and me, and we sat highest in the tree munching our way through his sweets. 
You said
“Today. Today is a good old day” 
I nodded. I didn’t know what you meant. We were only seven. 

Kicking an old apple around a field, trying to dodge the missiles it sent flying at our face and tearing at our shins. We did a keepie-uppie challenge to impress the girls. 
Jessie Lyons was beautiful, wasn’t she? 
You fancied Amelia Sartez so much, you hit yourself in the chin trying to help her up. I can’t believe they said yes when we asked them to play tomorrow. 
We floated home, where Ma was waiting with cake and custard, and a brand new footie! Nothing better than promises of tomorrow to a ten-year-old boy.
Then, sending specks of half-eaten cake across the table, you said
“These are the good old days, aren’t they?”
I laughed; you looked like an idiot. 

Next thing we knew, our clock struck fourteen and the girls we liked became the girls we loved. Still, even young love didn’t break us. 
Still, we talked about the nothingness of everything, and the everything in nothingness in the boughs of that tree. 
Summer days stretched out in front of us full of climbing trees, playing tag, and annoying Mrs Johnson’s cat. 
Pickle was a real nuisance. 
That was the year we got invited to our first party. Jesus, we got smashed. Like, well, drunks we staggered across the field, possibly spending more time lumbering in circles than going straight. You tripped, swept my feet from beneath me, and we lay in the mud and watched the stars. Maybe they watched us back. God, we would have been a sight. 
You turned to me, smile plastered across your ruby red cheeks, and you said 
“Good day. Good old day, today, innit?” 
Or something along those lines. 

Freedom; exams over, education finished, responsibility rearing its ugly head. 
Dad told us to get a grip. Instead, we sat on the roof, ringlets of smoke promising a sleeping dragon in the night sky. 
I don’t think a hobbit would be too chuffed if he found two nineteen-year-olds hiding from their old man instead of gold. 
Life was catching up with us, but we ran faster. 
Why bother growing up, I said, when you could stay like this forever?
Then I dropped the cigarette. 
You laughed and lit another. 
You said 
“Maybe the good old days are taking a break”
For once, I didn’t say anything. 

Sitting in the tree (though splintered branches proved we were bigger than we used to be)
We practised how I was going to propose to Jessie. 
High school sweethearts. Ugh. Gross. 
I got on one knee, parroted my speech with minimal tears.
You laughed so hard you fell off your branch and broke your wrist. 
We decided to withhold just how you, ‘a twenty-one-year-old man had been so irresponsible that you fell out of that blasted tree’ from Ma. 
I wanted it to be a surprise, after all.
In the ward, higher than balloons on the Fourth of July on morphine, you told me my speech was perfect. 
You said 
“They’re back, my boy, those days, and today is one. D’you think they have any lemons?”
Upon being told no, the nurse did not have any lemons, you wiggled around like an angry slug. 
You were my best man. Still are, actually. 
Anarchy is the only word I could use to describe the turn of events following your ‘speech’. 
And I still don’t know how you convinced Edna to tango. 
Afterwards, you led me around the dance floor and told me you were proud of me between eccentric spins and the odd box step. 
Outside the rain poured, quenching the dying earth. We hadn’t had rain in weeks. 
Naturally, you threw open the patio doors and you danced in the rain.
Then you came back and dragged me out with you.
Dancing in the rain, you hypothesised, is the purest a human can be- 
It's primitive. It’s ludicrous. It’s simply brilliant.
It was absolute rubbish. I loved it. 
Drying in the hall, we realised how old we were. 
Twenty-two was practically ancient.
You shook your head, sending droplets showering over the walls.
Then you said
“These are the good old days. No doubt.”
And for the first time, I understood. 

Now here I am. 
Sat in a tree, at the bottom of the garden.
Reminiscing about the day Billie Porter broke his leg, and when you broke your wrist.
About the day you introduced me to my wife. About the days we never had. 
I’m forty-five now, a fully functioning adult; one of them
Oh how we hated them
D’you remember how we made a pact never to grow old? 
I just wish you weren’t so true to your word. 
It’s been twenty-nine years since I last saw your face. Since you left me. 
I blamed you at first, I threw things, and I swore at you. Mostly I just cried. 
You’re part of the tree now; of the oak, and the stars, and all the footballs in the world.
And me. You’re always a part of me. 
Sometimes I come down here for a chat, or just to sit and smoke, even though it's less fun hiding from Dad without you. 
I tell you all about the kids, about Ma and Dad, about that girl Amelia you used to love so much. I tell you about the premier league, and how Abigail learned to ride her bike, and about how everyone says Rory looks just like you. It’s in the eyes- you could find enough worlds to satisfy even your imagination in those eyes.
I miss you. 
But today, I came to tell you that you were wrong. So very wrong. You ought to be embarrassed.
They weren’t the good old days. 
They were the best. 
And I wouldn’t trade a single one of them for all the cake and custard in the world.

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2 Comments
  • Stone of Jade

    also the fact that you wrote this in sticky notes and red pens somehow makes it more beautiful. please keep all those sticky notes. they will be worth millions when you become a famous writer. your name will be paired with the greats!


    about 1 month ago
  • Stone of Jade

    ohh molly...this made me cry. im not even kidding. tears are falling down my cheeks rn. this is so beautiful. so nostalgic. so sad. that ending....i have no words to describe this.

    /Still, we talked about the nothingness of everything, and the everything in nothingness in the boughs of that tree./
    ^^that....is gorgeous. it---it makes this picture that i wish i could describe. but i have no words to tell you how beautiful this is and i just cant rn. i wish i could like this a million times because you will never understand how much i LOVE this. really well written. more than "well written." this is genius--a masterpiece. asdfghjkl its so good you made me CRY!


    about 1 month ago