We Are the Pickwicks (extended remix)

By | 1 August 2012
The next day, I woke up with a stinging pain in my mouth.

I had been waiting for months – the irrefutable proof that I was growing into a man. I jumped out of bed, and immediately ran downstairs to show Father and Grandmother my first sign of adulthood. Soon I will have to shave every morning, just like father, and all those men in their smart tailored suits and grey bowler hats. To my surprise, no one was sitting at the breakfast table, though everything was already laid out for breakfast.

Instead, my attention was taken over by a commotion at the front door, which to my amazement, was wide open.

No, no, no.

It can’t be. She laid there unmoving, and neither my father nor anyone in the crowd made a move to help her. I stood in the doorway in my pyjamas, oblivious to my bare feet freezing in the cold.

Dust and pain. Mrs Darling’s words echoed in my head, followed by an image of those squinty, long-nosed trolls, so eager to claim more victims.

We had a small, quiet funeral for grandmother. It emerged that she had fallen over on our front lawn in the dead of the night, and no one had noticed. She laid there until morning, when a passer-by finally found her, but she was too far gone by then. Never had I imagined that my grandmother would be so frail, but she was old. And to grow old was to grow frail, slowly, until one day you woke up and realised you were nothing more than bone, dust and pain.

I don’t know why, but ever since that incident, malicious gossip would follow me in the school yard. The bullies set their sights on me, and while they kept a safe distance, they would hide behind bushes and fences, then leap out when you least expect it, like some kind of malicious jack-in-the-box.

‘She didn’t fall’ they would whisper to each other, while making a point of looking at me. ‘She was old and miserable. She’d had enough of life, and so she—’

The Darling brothers would then come to my rescue, but I never thanked them for their efforts. I simply did not care. I have had enough – of the bullies, the Darlings, and that ‘boy in green’ who flew past my window each spring with the Darlings. I was done with mermaids, with pirates, with adventures, and most of all, with that pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. I have my test scores, my path in life, and I have no time for other things. Yes, I still saw them, but that was nonsense, and like the sensible Pickwick that I am, I will lay these things to rest.

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