Danny Kemp. (First Attempt at a Short Story.)

FOREVER.

I’m five today. I don’t know what being five means, but yesterday no one gave me presents and today I’ve got tons. I like being five. Mum said that it means that she has been my Mum for five years but she has been there forever. Does five years mean forever then? I love my Mum and I do know what love means. It means hugs and kisses and snuggles under warm blankets against each other or curdled up, on what they call a settee, watching Sponge Bob in his brown Square pants. I know my colours and I can count.

At play school I learnt some letters now, at proper School, I can recite what the teacher calls an alphabet. I’m clever they say, but I don’t know what clever means. Mum says that she will love me forever, does that mean it will stop today?

My Dad is a big man. Much taller than me, and when he comes home he always lifts me up almost to the top of the room and gives me a kiss, a big wet one on my lips, then he tickles me and makes me laugh. I love my Dad and I know he loves me because he says so every morning and every night. Sometimes he stays home on what they call weekends, and we go to a park where he pushes me on the swings and pretends to be a monster chasing me, but when he gets tired we have to go home. I wish everyday could be a weekend, then the three of us could cuddle up together all warm and cosy especially when it has been cold outside.

I’ve got a puppy dog. I suppose he’s called a puppy because he is smaller than me. If I was as small as him would I be called a puppy boy? His name is Charlie, he’s brown and white and furry. Sometimes he gets bigger, standing on his back legs and licking my face. Mum tells him off. But when she isn’t looking I let him do it, bending down and kissing him back. I love Charlie and Charlie loves me. I can tell this by the way he wags his tail whenever I call him or when I eat my lunch. Then, that tail swishes the floor as he sits beneath me catching my curbs and carries on as he’s thanked for saving Mum time in clearing up the mess that I always make. I wish I had a tail then I could wag it when I see my Mum and then Dad when he comes home from what he calls his work.

I hope Mum, Dad and Charlie love me tomorrow, because that’s when Dad said he will see me again.

“See you in the morning big man, when I get home from work, before you’re off to School.”

It’s a bit confusing, if Mum and Dad have been there forever will forever be there tomorrow, and if so, will it be there the next day and the next. How long is forever? Mum and Charlie are with me now, all of us on the clean shiny floor looking at the parcels underneath the Television and they are all for me. I’m not sure where to start. There are some in pretty blue and red bags with a white ribbons around, and some wrapped in multi coloured paper with the number Five in bold letters. Maybe I’ll start with them. Mum is sitting beside me in her red dressing gown smelling of soap and freshness, the kind that comes out of that bottle beside the bath that we share every morning. She has a special smell, a Mum smell. Dad smells differently especially on those weekends when he’s spicy and warm with a smooth face not rough and spiky as when he leaves for his work. Charlie’s never leaves us for long, often getting under Mums feet or caught up in the washing on the floor in front of what they calling a washing machine. Mum says she’ll put him in there one day if he’s not careful. He smells cold beside me and a bit like the toilet after I have been in there. He’s just come in from the garden and I wish he would sit the other side of the rug, but his tail is rubbing against the floor making that swishing noise that shows that he loves us both. It’s not his fault that he smells so bad, it’s not as though he can use the bathroom up stairs, his legs are too short.

“Go on Tommy, open this one first, it’s from Auntie Joan, she normally buys you something nice.”

Auntie Joan lives a car ride away and always has a full sweet jar in her kitchen next to the fruit bowl with tons of oranges in it. I love Auntie Joan and her sweets and oranges. I always take some extras sweets for my brother but he doesn’t like oranges. I wish he did.

I love my brother Phillip but in a different way. I can’t touch him you see, and wish I could, then he might tickle me just like Dad. I’ve told Mum and Dad about him, how it’s him that make the mess in my room and not me. How he will finish what I leave on my plate, the peas and the cauliflower that I don’t like, but they say he’s not there. It’s kind of strange really because I only met him last week, so he hasn’t been there forever. We talk a lot and when I’m playing with my cars he lets me win all the races. Sometimes I play hide and seek with him, but he can never find me. I have to call out to let him know where I am. It’s not as much fun as the races, because I always know where he’s hiding and can find him easily. He’s sitting alongside me now and I wish Mum could see him, then they could talk and we would be able to go to the park together where playtime would be longer.

He’s invisible to Mum and Dad, and I think Charlie too although sometimes Charlie looks a bit quizzical, dropping his head from side to side, when we’re speaking to one another during our games. I wonder if Phillip loves Charlie. I’ll ask him later. Right now Phillip’s shoving and poking me, he wants to open that great big box just past Auntie Joan’s present, the one that two men carried in a little while ago.

Its a light shade of brown with arrows on all sides and the words THIS WAY UP at the pointed ends. I wonder if it’s Mum and Dad’s surprise and there’s a real live brother inside. One that all of us can see and love forever. How long is forever?

The End.

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About Danny Kemp

I was at work one sunny November day in 2006, stopped at a red traffic light when a van, driven incompetently, smashed into me. I was taken to St Thomas' Hospital and kept in for a while, but it was not only the physical injuries that I suffered from; it was also mental ones. I had lost confidence in myself let alone those around me. The experts said that I had post-traumatic stress disorder, which I thought only the military or emergency personnel suffered from. On good days, I attempted to go to work, sometimes I even made it through Blackwell Tunnel only to hear, or see, something that made me jump out of my skin and that's when the anxiety attacks would start. I told my wife that I was okay and going regularly, but I wasn't. I could not cope with life and thought about ending it. Somehow or other with the help of my wife and medical professionals, I managed to survive and ever so slowly rebuild my self-esteem. It took almost four years to fully recover, but it was during those dark depressive days that I began to write. My very first story, Look Both Ways, Then Look Behind, found a literary agent but not a publisher. He told me that I had a talent, raw, but nevertheless, it was there. His advice was to write another story and that I'm delighted to say, I did. The success of that debut novel, The Desolate Garden, was down to sheer hard work, luck, and of course, meeting a film producer.
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2 Responses to Danny Kemp. (First Attempt at a Short Story.)

  1. Jane Carroll says:

    Well done…how nice…how confusing to be five…

  2. dannykemp says:

    Thank you Jane for your comment.

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