Clear Line of Sight


Longlisted for the Write about Walking A/way competition 2023


I stare at my newly tattooed knuckles, Walk on the right hand, Tall on the left. Then I close my eyes and flex my fingers, visualising those words wrapped around Dad’s throat.

He’d always told me to stand up for myself.

Not parental encouragement, just a yell spat in my face as he grabbed my t-shirt, his stinky alcohol breath sucking the oxygen from my air. I used to wish I could disappear like Mum did years ago. She just walked away, didn’t look back.

“Why can’t you be a man and stand up for yourself?”

Then he’d turn from me in disgust.

On my sixteenth birthday, I took his advice. It was the only gift Dad gave me.

I joined the army. Be The Best. I’ve got the medals to prove it.

So now here I am, back in my childhood battleground. I’ll lay in wait then ambush him. 
It’s what happened to me....

....we’d left the silent empty desert, leaving ephemeral footprints in the shifting sands. Destination Helmand River. Crowded with buildings, trees, cornfields. Vision blurred 
by pollen dust and sweat. Then -

Snipers. Jelly legs, skin tingle. Adrenalin rush. Machine gun fire.
 
“Get down!”

Spinal cord severed....

Now I clench my fists.

He’s there, in front of me. And I see he is nothing.

“Well Dad, I stood up for myself, like you said.”

I unclench my fists, turn, and manoeuvre my wheelchair down the path.

I leave before he can walk away.

Lorraine Collins

Lorraine Collins

Lorraine and her husband travel extensively in their VW campervan, which is a rich source for people watching and story ideas. She belongs to a writing group who met in 2018 on a Guardian writing course and continue to meet for wine, food, merriment and cr...

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Also check out

Post
Leaving and Arriving

1 Sep, 2023

Longlisted for the 2023 Write about Walking A/way competition.

Post
Foul Weather, Wild Fowl

1 Sep, 2023

Longlisted for the 2023 Write about Walking A/way competition.

Post
I can’t help it

1 Sep, 2023

Longlisted for the 2023 Write about Walking A/way competition.

Post
A Way of Noticing

1 Sep, 2023

Longlisted for the 2023 Write about Walking A/way competition.

Post
Walking Away from Fear

1 Sep, 2023

Longlisted for the 2023 Write about Walking A/way competition.

Post
Chiltern Walks No.13: Aston Rowant Reserve

1 Sep, 2023

Longlisted for the 2023 Write about Walking A/way competition.

Post
Serenade

1 Sep, 2023

Longlisted for the 2023 Write about Walking A/way competition.

Post
stump speech

1 Sep, 2023

Longlisted for the 2023 Write about Walking A/way competition.

Post
Walking A/way with the prizes…

24 Sep, 2023

At the Sound Walk Stories Sunday showcase event of new writing, at which the shortlisted poems and stories from our 2023 Walking A/way themed writing competition, were read by their inspiring authors, we learnt which of them walked away with the prizes.

Free for supporting members
Walking Event SWS23
Sound Walk Stories Sunday: ‘Write About Walking A/way’ showcase

2023-09-24 15:30

Online

Post
Walking Down Temple Steps, Paestum

1 Sep, 2023

Longlisted for the 2023 Write about Walking A/way competition.

Post
Affinity to Stardust

1 Sep, 2023

Longlisted for the 2023 Write about Walking A/way competition.