Parting Clouds by Daniyaal

Year 12

Written as part of Factory Feedback

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The late morning rays flickered through the dancing leaves of the tall Elm trees that stood at the end of the main recreation garden of the Emerald Grove Rehab Village. The apparition of Lewis’ psychiatrist’s cheerful face resurfaced in his mind. He sighed as he internally replayed her tender words, ‘Write anything you remember,’ she had said as she smiled softly. All Lewis knew was that she had wanted him to put pen to paper and write down any memories that occurred to him, even memories that lurked beneath misty clouds of pain. Through his foggy haze, he noticed in the corner of his vision a leaf falling softly through the branches of an Elm, tilting in the still air first one way, then another…

Maa and I were two peas in a pod, telepathically reading each other’s thoughts and feelings and gauging each other’s moods, while swinging to the two strong palm trees swaying in rhythm to the ocean breeze. It was perhaps unusual for a mother and son to have had such a bond, but that had been us, making it even more painful to come to terms with what had happened. With what I felt I had done. What I had caused. When she used to take me to soccer, to swimming, ferrying me across Sydney, I thought that those were the halcyon days, talking of this, that and the other. Even sitting in traffic, the hybrid car silent amongst the rumbling of diesel trucks and vans around us, we would carry on the most outlandish of conversations. We would talk about the journeys to far-off lands, Italy especially. After soccer training at nightfall we would go for a silent drive through the city before returning home. And sometimes we would drive out to the North Heads at Manly to look back on the beautiful city of Sydney, its city lights twinkling beyond the Harbour Bridge.

I recall the night all too well. Despite the haze, the night was as clear as… day. We were returning from soccer training. I was doing my best to demonstrate the rainbow flick technique I had perfected, undeterred by the confines of my car seat, as we crawled along Parramatta Road. I asked mum to stop by the carnival fair, since it would be on till late, to have some double-fudge chocolate ice-cream. Maa had turned the car radio up a notch whilst looking for some parking. I was daydreaming, thinking that our little life is rounded by sleep, when indeed such sleep overtook me.

I don’t recall the exact moment, but all of a sudden, I woke up amongst a pile of twisted metal, looking up at the night sky above me, the car flipped on its side and split in two.  As I lay there in my blood and her blood, I heard in the distance sirens… and then there were faces above me looking down, then out came the angle grinders and metal cutters to cut us out, and then the ceiling of a hospital ward, until I blacked out.

***

The pen fell through his trembling fingers and onto the cold, wet grass of the Psychiatric Observatory Ward’s garden.

“Going to be a big storm tonight,” said the Head Nurse.  “Better bring the children in.”

Lewis had registered these words in his consciousness, and a nurse had come to retrieve him and take him to his room. She glanced at the page before him as she pushed him, oblivious of the blank page where the end of his story should have gone. Once she had settled Lewis into his room, she held out a large cup of double chocolate fudge sundae, 

“Lewis, my dear, would you like to treat yourself?” she asked, holding the cup out and widening her big brown eyes.

“No, thank you nurse Diana” he said bluntly. 

“Okay then dear, enjoy your evening!”

Lewis waited for the echo of Diana’s heels to leave the room, before he glanced up at the window, to see the rain begin to pour down across the flagstones of the courtyard and across the lawn, the branches of the Elm trees waving in the storm. The blank page was touched by drops of water.

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