LACUNA Kate Nolan
Fish and Chips
Daddy's just sent me down to get the fish and chip dinners like every Friday night.
This time though, I get to go on my own, no Liam trying to trip me down the hill calling me a baby when I fall over. See, three days ago I turned thirteen. Now I'm a teenager and my brother can bugger off. I can run and run as fast as I like down the hill screaming at the sheep, white puffs of cloud, along the way. Not far into the village anyway and I know every farm, every house, every person along the way. That's the Murphy's farm there. Did you hear that the customs got him last week for grazing over in the North? Took twelve cows off of him. That's what Jimmy told me anyway but he's a bit of a tosser. Barely listens at school anymore but I guess he's staying here anyway. His brother has no interest, always on his phone or up in his room while Jimmy's out in the fields. Say he'll be looking for new land
when he's older.
Down the hill and now I'm going off course. It's still bright out so I'm going to follow the river the rest of the way in through the muck. Liam never let me do this, I always had to follow his path. There's this massive cabinet sitting in our front room, like really huge and very very old. My mam told me that my Grandad dragged it through the river, across the border, somewhere along here out of view of customs. Funny thing was he took out all the drawers so it would be lighter but they kept filling with water so it was twice as heavy to drag over. I can just see him trying to chase drawers drifting down the river,
stumbling and grabbing.
Think Milly's working the chipper tonight with her Da. She's my best friend and we've known each other since we were four. Her birthday is two weeks before mine so we always have a joint party. Camped in the field this year and ordered in a Chinese which we ate in front of the fire. Never ordered a Chinese to a field before. We're both going into first class this year but I'm headed to Ballyshannon with most of the kids who went to Pettigo. She's going to Enniskillen though as she lives out the road towards Kesh. We made a pact on her birthday that we'll meet up every day after school and tell each other everything
so nothing will change.
I can see the chipper now and there's a bit of crowd gathering. My belly is starting to gurgle. Think that's Mick there. He lives in the town but he's completely blind. He's got a stick to get him around and a talking watch. Also, I've never seen it, but a cup that beeps when it's almost full so he doesn't burn himself. He's got the best laugh that you can hear from a mile away. Something like a mix between a goat and a person. I always accidentally say 'did you see blah de blah?' and feel horrible but he just laughs.
There's Milly, Rebecca, Tommy, Rich, Jason and more coming from every direction. The smell of chips is getting up my nose with a sweet sting of vinegar. Got to run really fast now before the chips run out and my Da asks me what I was fooling about doing.
This short story was created from open conversations with The Forge Cross Border Community Youth Group 10 -14yrs. Written by Kate Nolan as part of LACUNA.