I was lying in bed this morning pondering the vagaries of memory. Most things that happened to me in the first ten years of my life are very hazy, yet certain things I remember, a Christmas present; a fight with my brother; a crash on my bicycle. These incidents take place in a disconnected way, surrounded by periods of fog.
As I lay their pondering my mind alighted on a long forgotten incident something that must have happened when I was about eight years old.
It was one of those beautiful summer days that only exist in childhood. I was playing on the field opposite my house; well we children called it ‘the field’. I used to wonder why the adults called it ‘the tip’. Looking back I can now see it was because of the old washing machines, prams and other rubbish that was dumped there. To us children it just added to the excitement of the place. In the morning when we went out, to play, we wondered what treasures had been dumped there overnight. The only reason why the ‘field’ was there at all was because the land was too boggy to build on.
We children thought it was great though and would give exotic names to all the landmarks in our communal garden. The Sand Hills, a place where the soil was so poor even the weeds refused to grow. The Rolls Canardly, which was a car that had been dumped there so long ago that it had decomposed and become part of the landscape. Then there was the Silver Stream, which sprang up so mysteriously from the ground, it had to be magical. We would drink from it, reverently, as if it was some wonderful potion or elixir. When I think about it now, it’s a wonder we weren’t poisoned!
On this particular day I was wandering ‘the field’ lost in a reverie when I saw a piece of paper blowing about in the wind. From time to time I would forget about it but my eyes kept on being drawn back to the paper as it danced in the breeze. It was certainly an odd-looking piece of paper, very colourful, was it a toffee wrapper? The more I looked, the more puzzled I became. It appeared to have a life of its own, then I realised that it did have a life of its own it was a butterfly. As I looked I sometimes thought I must be mistaken, but yes, it was a butterfly, and what a beautiful butterfly. I’d never seen one like it before, and I’ve never seen a one like it since.
For a while I watched as it played happily in the sun, then I got to thinking. I was on my own, how could I ever describe to my friends how beautiful it was? How would they ever believe that I had seen such a wondrous thing? I couldn’t ask the butterfly to remain still while I found a few mates. I had a problem what should I do?
Suddenly all became clear there was only one thing for it I would catch it and show it to them. I took off my shirt and pursued it with all my energy. The butterfly proved to be very illusive and it soon became obvious that it would be no easy task catching it, but I was determined that it wouldn’t get away. Sometimes I’d lose sight of it altogether, but it was so distinctive I would always find it again. After much trying I at last managed to throw my shirt over it. I remember the feeling of triumph when this happened, I’d got it, I’d finally got it. Then ever so carefully so as not to let it escape, I moved the shirt so I could gaze upon the beautiful butterfly that had been the object of my attention for so long. It didn’t escape, it couldn’t. It was dead. In my stupid attempt to possess this magical creature I had killed it.
I’ve been trying hard to think of some positive moral to this story. It hasn’t been easy but now I think I’ve found one. Don’t lie in bed dwelling on past events what has happened has happened. You should get up and create some new experiences in your life and make sure they’re good ones.
Anyway everybody shouldn’t feel so upset it was fifty years ago so I think it would have probably died by now anyway!
Watch your sentence and story structure, grammar, punctuation.
You’ve told us a story, like something you might relate to a friend or a family member. Rather than have the narrator remember back to this story, have the narrator be that child—show us the story in real time, as it’s happening. Involve all our senses.
The moral of the story should be obvious in the telling of it. You don’t need to tell us the moral after the story is finished.
What I liked best: You have a wonderful setting in this field that can provide a very rich backdrop to your story.
Magazine ready: No. Needs more work.