Childhood Morning


(Credit: MabelAmber on Pixabay)


The first rays of day.

Our garden pond becomes an

Ocean of jewels




The goats next door

We played tag, running through the faded red labyrinth as often as possible. We threw stones at the dogs when they got too close to the kitchen and splashed in the lake with the horses. There was school of course, but I remember the smell of the goats next door much more clearly than anything they ever tried to teach me.

I vaguely remember someone leaving for university and never coming back. When I see my children dashing past enormous tour busses to get to the now pink labyrinth, I wonder: If I had left, would I be like these tourists now? Going to far away places with strange languages to see other people’s children play. To see other people’s homes and families and eat their food. And what significance would it have, seeing a place I had no connection to, where I had no family, no friends, no memories. Would it even matter to me at all?

Bubblegum Freezer


(Credit: quicksprout)

Frozen pink bubblegum is clamped unto the wall just inside the door. White crystals surround it. They look like sugar, but she knows better than to lick them; she remembers last winter and a lamppost and a very painful tongue.

There are hooks in the ceiling with some sort of slaughtered animals hanging from them. They do not look like animals anymore. They do not look like anything. Except perhaps the pink on the outside looks like gum and the inside looks like raspberry  flavour.

Shivering, she sits on the floor and imagines them to be silent guardians of this cold and silent place. This bubblegum realm coated in sugar. It seems like a nice place to stay for a while. A place where no one will find her.

How I Found Out That I Am Not A Viking

viking mount and blade

(Credit: Mount & Blade: Warband)

My grandmother piled cream buns on the table until the heaps towered over my head. I ate one while I was sure she was looking, threw another to the dog while she wasn’t and hid two more in the large pocket of my hoodie, then I slipped away to take refuge in the garden. Hopefully, my father would be able to eat enough to satisfy her.

They had an old apple tree in the back of the garden, which had once supported a tree house. Now there were only two rotting boards left, nailed to the bark, but it was still great for climbing. From the top, I tossed the two uneaten cream buns into the neighbour’s rhododendrons. Then sat down swinging my legs on each side of a large branch and contemplated my next move. The dog was still inside, sniffing around under the table probably, hoping for another bun. My father had to entertain my grandmother, and the neighbour didn’t have any kids, so it seemed I would have to invent another one-person-activity.

Something red caught my eye so I swung down from the branch and dropped to the ground. Right up to the hedge there was a ring of red, white spotted mushrooms, like the ones the Smurfs lived in. Or like the ones Vikings used to chew before going into battle. I could be a Viking, I thought. So I took a bite of one and pretended smashing axe against shield, until the one cream bun I had eaten was rather suddenly expelled from my stomach. I had to practically crawl back to the house, and held a bucket between my knees all the way to the hospital.

Three Wishes


I thought I heard you giggle,

But it was only the cold river,

Lumps of ice breaking off the shores,

Bobbing up and down in the rushing waters.

You used to bathe there in summer.

If I had three wishes, one would be for your childish laughter.


I thought that I heard you sing,

But it was only the church choir,

Rehearsing for a funeral.

The boys’ faces all concentration one moment,

Then contorted in silent laughter as the priest looked away.

If I had three wishes, one be for a happy song from you.


I thought I saw you crossing the street,

And it might have been you,

Even though he was wearing a suit,

Striding along with an attaché case,

Clutching it as you once clutched my hand.

If I had three wishes, one would be for you to be with me again as you were,

One would be for you to stay with me forever,

One would be for you to never change.

Four Friends



We were the elements.

Gwen was earth because she was so reliable. I was fire because of my red hair, although I had a long struggle with Eva to decide it; she didn’t agree to take water before we reminded her of ocean storms and assured her that more people drowned each year than were caught in forest fires. After we settled our argument, blue became her favourite colour.

And Troy was air. Because none of us really knew what to make of him.

He was there most of the time, but often disappeared before the game was done. We stopped waiting for him, because if he didn’t turn up we had wasted time, and if he suddenly did turn up during a game, he just blended in naturally. And I noticed that I breathed easier.

Gwen liked him. Eva often got angry with him, but mostly it wasn’t really him she was angry with; she just shouted out her frustrations to the sky.

And when one stormy autumn, he stopped turning up completely, I wondered whether he really had let the wind carry him away.

Clara and her Stepmother (version 2)


Clara sat in the garden wearing her Cinderella ball dress, throwing treats for the dog to find.

‘Clara?’ called Clara’s stepmother from the house and Clara sprang to her feet and sped to the bushes the dog at her heels.

‘Shh,’ whispered Clara to the dog when they were well hidden by the leaves, ‘we mustn’t let the dragon find us. She’ll take away our dress like she did at the shops last weekend.’

Walking out into the garden, Clara’s stepmother called several more times, but Clara bit her lip and even the dog was still except for his tail.

When Clara’s stepmother went back into the house, she sighed and checked her watch. The surprise birthday party she had arranged for her husband would begin in half an hour.

Clara and her Stepmother (version 1)

(Credit: Disney)

(Credit: Disney)

This is Clara. She is a sweet little girl and you are supposed to like her.

This is Clara’s stepmother. You are supposed to think she is evil because Clara does not like her and you like Clara, but if you look carefully you will find out that Clara’s stepmother is actually a decent person. In fact, Clara’s stepmother is a very nice person and Clara should find out by the end of the story, but only if Clara stops being a spoiled brat who thinks that she is the protagonist of every story.

The Hat Lady



She smelt of oranges and cloves all year round. She had a closet filled with hats and never wore the same one for more than three hours. For long trips out of the house she brought a large hat bag and sometimes I was allowed to pick some from the closet for her.

We went to the zoo and flapped our arms at the penguins and with sticky liquorice in our hands we walked through the forest without using the paths, but never losing our way. In the forest, she told me about bog monsters and trolls and the kind of fairies that pull you off to another world to be a pet.

‘Don’t ever believe that Tinkerbell is a real fairy,’ she told me as the liquorice cloyed my tongue.

After a long time without walks, I went to church with my parents and shortly after they sold all her hats except a brown bowler which I took. When I ran off to hide it, I got lost in the woods and when I sat down and held the bowler over my nose, it only smelt of dust.

A Frame

(Credit: LIFE)

(Credit: LIFE)

Don’t you feel cold?

Will words warm you?

Will they flesh you out, give you substance?

I’ve heard it’s not a good idea to depend too much on others to define oneself,

But I understand that it must be tough just being a frame,

Waiting for someone to put in their picture.

These are my parents, and this is my childhood sweetheart whom I never saw again after the third grade.

Du you like my picture?

This is the cat I found, but was not allowed to keep.

And this is the old lady who lived next door and always waved at me, when I went to school.

Sometimes I pretended she was my grandmother.

Sometimes I pretended she was a witch and her wave was a curse.

Does this make you more you?

More me?

Does this make you more someone?

Who are you?

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