© 1983, 2010 Norman Samuda Smith

Curious is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

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Joel was brought up with the ‘heavy hand’, if he stepped out of line, or dared to back-chat, he would be punished.  His mother was always out of town working, his father, he didn’t know. School was sometimes just a word, an establishment he rarely saw or experienced. His education was the nearby bustling town streets, his grandparents land, the chickens and the goats.

‘Freedom’ came his way came his way one day. England attracted his attention. The promise of “streets paved with gold”, plenty of work, a permissive society, the dream of owning a house and a car, the things that compelled him to come. When most of his fellow country men and women were planning a five year stay, Joel made up his mind he wasn’t coming back.

Then here came the fishes swimming by the plenty, wriggling their way into view, pleasing his eyes.  He cast his line, eventually he attracted the one he married.

The babes were weaned as the years strolled by. Two sons and a daughter were cultured into the ways of the ‘heavy hand’ by Joel.  No after school activities, none of their friends were allowed to visit their house; be seen but not heard. The boys rebelled against their curfew. They tried to reason with Joel, but reasoning didn’t come. They found out from their mother that in his youth, Joel was punished until he was conditioned not to ask questions or answer back. To him, that was right, but was it a good enough reason why he should have passed it on? The boys were reluctantly granted their freedom, still with a few tricky knots to untangle.

So elsewhere the boys had to roam, to seek for what they desired. Out there it’s like a large plastic dome waiting to explode. Evil lurks around many-a-corner. The genuine are few and far between.  The good can also be corrupt. It’s sad and hard out there, but it can be fun.

Which left daughter at home receiving the feed back; hearing how great it is to be out there.  She only heard one side of the story, the other half was never told…

            CURIOUS until she skipped a couple of classes.

            CURIOUS until she skipped most of college.

            CURIOUS until she wanted to be noticed.

            CURIOUS until she slipped…OOPS!CONCEIVED!

Dear Mom, Dear Dad

I didn’t really want us to part this way, but I’m scared, it has to be done. Please try and understand.

Love…Andrea was just sixteen when she ran away from home. On her dresser she left that note and waited patiently until her parents were asleep. Then at 3.00am she simply walked out the front door leaving her keys. All she carried with her was a case full of clothes and her parents’ grandchild.

She strolled down the road, calm but not content, with the planted seed forming in her mind’s eye, asking the questions, “What am I gonna do? – How did I get here?”

…Andrea never wanted to, but she did. She let herself fall foolishly in love again, knowing the consequences that would follow as before. She never expected them to last; she just fantasised about them while she had them, and then thought about what she was going to say when they finally drifted away from her.

Sometimes her words were strong, and at other times just sweet words of “I Understand; of course we can still be friends,” deep down it hurt, but she had to keep altering the rehearsed lines that were so carefully thought out before the feeling of ‘It’s the end’ came…

            “…otherwise it would all sound the same ennit? I mean you gotta use your imagination.  Think positive and quick too, so it sounds effective. The hurt buries itself then and stays buried ‘til you’re free to let it out.”

She had a love once, a real love, but due to Joel’s ‘heavy handed curfew’ he went away.

            “I hardened my heart. I wanna love again, but I’m scared. When I think I’ve got him, he slips away, and when he slips away, I live in hope that he’ll come back again, but all in vain.”

It was all so familiar to Andrea, almost timed even. She knew how to bury her hurt, she was good at that. Non-emotional, no tears, just a cynical smile that quivered a bit when she was nervous and thought she was going to break out into rivers of tears. She controlled that though, always controlled it.

             “…But that’s the way to be ennit?”

Andrea shrugged her shoulders, strolled on further away from home, still deliberating…

             “…Anyway, I’ve done Mom and Dad a favour. I made it easier for them.”

She looked down and rubbed her belly, smiling at the prospects the little person growing inside her will have. Then her eyes rose to look at the clear night sky and the golden moon that shone its silver light.

            “…Dear Lord, show us a sign…”

She put her hand in her coat pocket and felt a screwed up piece of paper. Unravelling it she saw scribbled on it her two brothers’ address.

            “…Signs and wonders…” she whispered dropping her case and raising her arms to the heavens extolling HIM. “…Thank you!”

On their doorstep, she knocked the door…

            “Welcome sis…” they greeted her, “…our family starts here…”


*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*


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