The Battle of Halloween

Trent from ‘Trent’s World‘ has treated the blogosphere with a delightful little piece about childish imagination and the magnificent world created by the human mind!

Read more here: The Battle of Halloween

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On the Introduction of a Lady

Lady Pinky-Moe was born on a cloudy day at the bottom of my grandmother’s garden. She was born amid a glass of delicious, satisfying berry juice and the chirping of birds, the screeching of crows, and the deliriously haunting sound of the leaves swaying in a ferocious wind that was significant of the sad departure of the last dregs of summer.

It was cold, the day Lady Pinky-Moe was born. Cold, windy, grey.. simply divine. You may be thinking that I am slightly off my head by saying that; how could it be ‘simply divine?’ you wonder, ‘if it is utterly cloudy and grey and cold?’

Well, quite simply, dull days have a magic of their own. The magic of this day was the leaf-shaped glass that held the satisfying berry juice, clouding up as the biting wind chilled the drink to a perfect temperature, sweet on the tongue and cold down the throat. The magic of this day was the sound of the swish of the bright pink skirt as the lady stepped out from behind the white rose bush that leant against the old ebony fence right at the back of the garden. The flash of bright orange as her scarf was blown about her face, her smooth black hair waving in the wind as she straightened up, looking about her in a confident manner. The magic was in the way the line of trees behind my grandmother’s back fence were whipped about by the wind, whispering to each other, creaking and groaning and then rising in a chorus of psithurism. When I turned my face to the sky the fresh breeze was accompanied by little flecks of rain.

When she saw me in my little blue checkered dress, the glass of berry juice loosening in surprise in my hand, she darted forward sharply and grabbed the glass from my fingers.

‘Well, now. You don’t want to spill this delicious drink, do you?’

‘No -no.’ I said, completely awestruck. She was beautiful, and so elegant. My nine year old mind struggled to comprehend how she managed to be so commanding and kind at the same time. And she was talking to me. Never mind she stepped out of nowhere. To me she was real.

Her eyes were sharp, stark, large. Her hands were gloved, and she had a loud voice which she used to air her many opinions about all sorts of matters.

That, ladies and gentlemen, was Lady Pinky-Moe, named by the childish version of myself and the name had stuck against my whim, as names are wont to do.

Jasmine

I knew a girl once, at primary school, who told me one afternoon while we were having lunch that if I visited her one day, we could go to Japan for a day and visit her father.

She was insistent that you could do that, so easily.

‘Easy,’ she said. She was half Japanese, and her name was Jasmine.

‘I don’t think you can do that,’ I said, cautiously. ‘Don’t you think you would have to fly there on a plane? And it’s terribly far away.’

At that time, at the age of nine, Japan was far off and oriental to me. A land of mystery and romance. It was not mentioned in any of the books I devoured, which, at the time, were all 1940s-50s classics about Western children who dressed well and had adventures, and a charming Canadian girl with Titian red hair. Japan, to me, was unknown, therefore un-interesting.

‘Oh, but you can!’ she was nodding wildly, her mane of thick black glossy hair falling over her smooth caramel skin.

‘My father is from there. He always says I should go and see him for a day, and we can have so many adventures. And they put up red dragon flags everywhere and we can eat dumplings. And I can give you a red silk gown so you won’t feel out of place. Tell your mom, she will drop you off at my place and we will be back in no time.’

I half believed her, because she was so earnest. After all, why shouldn’t it be true? There was nothing to suggest its implausibility. And Jasmine was so adamant that she had done this several times. The idea appealed to me; I stared up at the copy of leaves above the school playground and dreamed I could go with her. How exciting. And her father sounded so child friendly and accommodating.

When I told my mother about it later, I heard my voice sound just as adamant as Jasmine’s; it was my dream just as much as hers now, and I would not let my mother dampen it for me by telling me it wasn’t real.

‘But you can go and visit her, of course. I shall certainly want to see her mother again.’

We never did go. I don’t know why. I heard on the grapevine, and by grapevine I mean the chatter of adults unaware of childish ears eavesdropping, that her parents were divorced and her father had deserted his children.

As an adult, that explained Jasmine’s sad eagerness to visit him in Japan for an afternoon.

But you know, I will never forget that magic in her black eyes, dancing and alive, truly believing in what she was saying. So strong I believed it too, and hoped so hard for her. We all need coping mechanisms.

 

So what was it about Ocean Bream?

In the winter of 2010, I read a beautiful story called The Spellbook of Listen Taylor. It was enchanting. I say this now, although my memory of the plot and characters have severely diminished, because even after three years have passed, the magic and intrigue I felt whilst reading it still lingers in the wake of its memory.

So how does ocean bream relate to it, I hear you ask? Well, you see, it came as a frequent phrase in the book, one that caught me in it’s glittery snares and has not let me go since. One of the characters (I think it might have been a Cassie of some sort, now that I fling my memory back) was obsessed with the yearning for somebody to ask her the following question, “How is your ocean bream, my love?”

Now, given that she yearned for somebody (somebody decidedly of the male gender) to ask her such a thing, it was reasonable to expect that an ocean bream must have been something edible, because Cassie (I think) always said that her somebody would ask her this question at dinner.

I, however, chose to ignore the fact that it could be edible, because Ocean Bream is such a beautiful word, and gave way to a wide variety of surging possibilities, each pulsing with the excitable glow of blissful oblivion. So I put off looking the word up for as long as I could, even weeks after I had finished that fascinating, beautiful, delumptious book.

Finally I could bear it no longer, I prepared myself for disappointment, because throughout my literary life, I had found that nothing was quite as magical as writings made them seem. Cassie (or so I reckon) was always vague about what category of life ocean bream fit into, and all I knew was that it was something to be asked over dinner. So, I pushed my notebook aside (full of musings on the fascinating and elusive ocean bream; e.g. ‘How is your ocean bream, my love? Oh, it’s simply divine today, thank you. It’s got a strawberry trail behind it, amid gloops of shining somethings. The sunlight beams on it and it flits away leaving behind a euphoric glamour. My ocean bream is simply magical today. Or, ‘How is your ocean bream, my love?’ Not so vibrant today, actually. It’s a tad dim, but as blue as ever, shimmering with streaks of silver. Actually I think it’s yellow, sailing past my window, leaving behind a blue sky and sunshine! Why, the magic never fails, does it!’ Because, to me, ocean bream was magic in itself. The beautiful, haunting magic of fairies and pixies and delumptious godmothers who smelled of frosting and bread), switched on my computer and typed “Ocean Bream” into the search engine. Google, to be precise.

I used to think ocean bream was a magic that sailed by. I used to think it was the way sunlight dappled a mossy forest floor, or the way it twinkled between the nodding leaves of a woodland canopy, or the way it shimmered on an ocean bed, refracted and swirled by the ever moving surface of the water.

So when I discovered that it was just a fish, my mind started to work some magic of its own. And now, I reckon my favourite fish is the ocean bream. Not to eat, though. Never to eat. Ocean bream is too sacred for that.