One giant leap

Long listed for the WALKING HOME writing competition run in January & February 2022

I’d left home in a hurry, one mid-December afternoon. It had been snowing for days, the drifts renewing themselves every night into immaculate mounds, accumulating under the streetlights. I’d been growing too, and a thaw was on its way.

We had moved in only a week earlier, to this house on a quiet, still-scruffy London street. The old carpets and wallpaper were gone; we lived off takeaways from the Turkish restaurants, planning bookshelves and bathroom tiles, choosing paint shades and baby names.

We threw the hospital bags into the car and left – and then stopped. And inched forward. And stopped, in the slush-hour traffic. We never actually reversed, as my labour seemed to later that night, expanding and contracting time into a substance that went on in all directions, riven by faultlines of pain and sensation.

And then you were there, and here you are now, in my arms as I cross the road, heading for the threshold of our transformed family home. I feel superhuman: you and I, we have performed an overnight miracle. Slippery ice melts beneath my slippered feet and the frozen air sizzles against my body and its tectonic heating.

I negotiate the pavement, eyes caught by bright colour: restaurants’ napkins bleeding slowly into the snow. Keep going. Up the path, through the door. “Watch out!” But I am already over the trailing wire. No problem. It’s just one small step, baby.


Read more from the Long List of poems and stories submitted to the WALKING HOME writing competition. Listen to winning authors read their work at a showcase event on Sunday 25 September 2022 (booking details to follow).

Itching to write something yourself? Submit a piece to our Shorelines project, and invite your friends to read it aloud. Join one of our creative writing workshops or keep up to date with all our competitions by signing up to our curated newsletter here.

Purchase a copy of WALKING 2022 – an illustrated anthology of poems and stories on the theme of “Walking Home” for €4.99+p&p (see image to the left) or go for a bundle of WALKING 2022 AND WALKING 2021 – a similar illustrated anthology of poems and stories on the theme of “Walking and Listening”- a bumper package of 27 poems and stories and save €1.50 (see image to the right). Purchase from our Shop.

Bundle of two illustrated anthologies

AmeliaH

AmeliaH

United Kingdom

I work with words for a living, to learn, and for fun. I walk in the gaps. Originally from Cheltenham, I recently moved back after 25 years in London, and am relearning the local landscape. Words for a living: editing and proofreading, formerly for the Gua...

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