A short story, based on someone else’s truth.
I used to love visiting my grandparents on the border of Wales. My nan would prepare a salad and my grandad would joke that we could eat anything we want, as long as he didn’t grow it. I can still remember his smile 🙂 We knew that he grew pretty much everything on his allotment, so that left the bread and butter basically.
You’ve never tasted beetroot and peas and beans like his. 🙂
They would spoil us three because they knew we had it hard at home, my dad a military man, a strange man at that, my mum a cowed housewife of the 60’s, born on the cusp of the second War.
I’m the eldest of three, girl, boy, girl, each of us born to whichever town our father was stationed near to at the time.
My mum was one of at least a dozen kids, my dad likewise, most on both sides were military or police.
I must’ve been thirteen or so and we were going to nans for the night.
For what ever reason, we’d left on an empty stomach and when we arrived, we were starving.
But it was late at night, the men were out and nan wasn’t expecting us when we arrived.
Dad had warned us to keep our mouths shut when we get there, just keep out of the way, and after nan had settled the adults, she brought us a jam sandwich each to take to our rooms, admonishing dad for not feeding us properly. Nans are clever like that.
The house was quite, we fell asleep.
Now; alot of my uncles were military, and would come to my nans in military clothes, maybe wake us to give us a coin each, we were usually that sleepy we wouldn’ realise till morning came, hehehe.
This particular night, i felt someone trying to wake me, maybe rocking my shoulder? I can’t remember. Anyway, when i opened my eyes, there was a soldier at the foot of my bed, telling me that when i get older there’s gonna be some money for me, and that i wasn’t to worry.
In the morning i asked if uncle had gone, i was so tired when i saw him that i didn’t really say hello, and nan was surprised. My dad told me to stop being stupid, nobody had stayed over, i must have been dreaming he said.
I knew better than to argue. But later on, in a quiet moment with nan, i asked if any uncles had at least popped in quickly, to say hello.
No, dear. She said.
So i told her, it wasn’t a dream nan, an uncle woke me up, told me about some money or something and that i’m not to worry.
She could see that i wasn’t making it up at least and so got out a family album.
Was it him?
No, not uncle Dave.
She started showing me uncles that maybe i hadn’t seen in a while.
How ’bout uncle Trevor?
The next album was pulled out and i started leafing through the pages,
That’s him, nan, who’s he?
That was your dad’s uncle dear, he died a long time ago.
I wish now that i could remember the name she said, but it was a few decades ago.
I told my nan, that was the man i saw. So she told me i must have been dreaming after all but never mind, let’s go get some tea.
To this day, i swear.
It wasn’t a dream;
But i’ve never seen this money and always have had to worry, hehehe, i wonder, was he my dad’s uncle; if i’d never met him, how could i point him out from a photo album so confidently? Why has the memory stuck with me all these years?
I don’t know, but i wonder all the same.