Fiction

I did a little fiction writing course at the end of last year. Here's some stuff wot I wrote. The brief was to start with 'They saw each other from across the park..'.

They saw each other from across the park; his hand tightly entwined in that of a lover, hers tightly wrapped around a rapidly swelling ankle.

'Why is no one helping?' he says, dropping J's hand with a purposeful flourish, a habit from the job, you don't get far in his line of work without every movement being meaningful. 

He doesn't look like he might be anyone's hero: he's shorter than average, not particularly broad shouldered or noticeably athletic. In fact, it's obvious he spends a lot of time in front of the mirror rather than in the weights room. His hair is a perfect black slick, his beard is equally well-kept, each one of his ear piercings is carefully curated. 

And even though she is wincing through the pain, A still registers all of that about him. This figure, this sprite, bounding up to her through the mist and the crowd of commuters power-walking along the path. How is he moving so fast? She asks herself. And how is he dodging and ducking and diving so well and oh God, dear GOD how has he managed to lift her up so suddenly? How has this man, this elfin man, managed to sweep all 5 feet 11 inches of her off the carpet of dewy morning grass and onto the bench in one fell swoop? 

'Oh, err, yes, thanks- sorry, thanks so much,' she stammers, suddenly brought back from the absurdity of the situation to the razor sharp pain in her leg. She clutches her ankle tighter, willing the pain to stop, and is suddenly very aware of how her hands, cuticles bitten to buggery over years of office anxiety, compare to the perfectly manicured hand he has just placed on her arm.

'It's just a sprain. A nasty one, I think, but nothing that we need to rush you in for,' he says, carefully inspecting A's ankle.

'Oh right,' she nods, sweeping her unwashed auburn hair from her eyes in an attempt to look slightly less of a mess. A vain attempt, I might add, given that he has already clocked the smudge of Marmite at the corner of her mouth. 

'Are you a doctor, then?' she asks, swallowing the urge to cry as the pain intensifies. 

'Me? HA! Oh God, no,' he laughs. 'No, no but I've had more sprains like that than you've had hot dinners. You know, one toe out of line in a pas-du-chat or a pirouette and you'll have an ankle on ice for the best part of a week.'

He speaks so quickly, so animatedly, that despite the fact that he talks not only with his mouth but with his hands and his arms and his shoulders too,  A still struggles to keep up. 

'Oh?' she asks, raising one unkept eyebrow.

'I'm a dancer, love. A ballerina. I've had a sprained ankle for about 25% of my working life,' he smiles. A nods in appreciation, the super-human strength of this tiny man suddenly making sense. 

'But anyway, let's get you moving. Do you live nearby?'

'Yes, just on the corner of the common,' she says, motioning to the terrace house that a mere 25 minutes ago she was still sound asleep in. 

'Right, well let's get you back home and dry then.'

And with that, he wraps his arm around her waist, pulls her close, takes her weight and swings her arm around his shoulders. He takes the lead and they begin to dance. 

Step, step, hop.

Step, step, hop.

Two steps from him, a feeble hop from her. 

Step, step, hop.

This funny little dance, much slower and less graceful than the ones he is used to, at least gives them more time to talk.

Step, step, hop.

Step, step, hop.

'Were you on your way to work?'