Tales from the Edge of the Wood (edgeofthewood) wrote,
Tales from the Edge of the Wood

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MA Class Writing, Monday 9 November

We listen to an mp3 of Barbara Streisand singing "I Stayed Too Long at the Fair."


It was the flute. That's why I slipped away from my mother in the little town square. We were right across from Woolworth's, and the men in the bandstand were getting ready to play another march: they were all raising their horns. I knew if I didn't go right then, the loud music would cover up the magical sounds that must be just around the corner, and anyway it was a small town, so why not just go?

Every corner I turned led me farther away from the town centre, but there was just something about that music. I remember wondering vaguely why there weren't crowds of kids following along.

And then there it was, in a grass field just outside of town, a spray of twirlins skirts, fiddles and flutes, a banjo and a stand-up bass, and a man calling steps.

"Look, there's room in this set!" The lady who called me over was laughing.

And then of course I was dancing. I thought I recognised a boy I might have met once across the circle, but nobody else I knew was there. After a while, it was all a blue. Any time I felt I might want a little rest, somebody would pull me into a new set and there woul be nothing but tune and movement. Once i looked out and saw it had gone dark. Then it was light again, but I wsn't tired; I marvelled that the musicians never seemed to take a break.

Some time later, it seemed to me the trees had changed shape, and the corners of the field seemed to shrink. The last thing I remember is asking for something to drink. A lady gave me a lemonade, and it tasted like my mother's lemonade, and then all of a sudden I wondered if she missed me. Then I woke up here.

It sounds crazy, I know. My mother doesn't live in our house any more. It's a shop. Our house is a shop. Nobody will tell me what happened. In place of the bandstand there's a fountain and some kind of war memorial. Woolworth's is gone. And I'm cold. I only want to find my mother; she must be worried about me. She made this dress, for my sister, last year. On her new sewing machine. Why is our house a shop?

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