Northwords Now Issue 35

The FREE literary magazine of the North


by Lucy Macrae

1.The rebirth of a soul in another body. 2. A person or animal in whom a particular soul is believed to have been reborn. 3. A new version of something from the past.

It was August and, once again, I was leaving Donnie MacArthur for the last time.

I winnowed my few possessions in a whirlwind of resolve before stacking them and the children into my rust-rimmed Ford Fiesta. Michael, my eldest, didn’t need to be asked twice. He sat squashing midges against the window with his fingers as I bundled the twins into the back. A tricky task as they refused to let go of each other, as usual.

A light rain was falling. When was it ever bloody not, I thought, swatting at my neck. Midges, eating me alive.

I turned before I got in behind the wheel but Donnie, my anti-hero, was not standing in the doorway, was not chasing the car with waving arms. So I let the handbrake off and bumped the Fiesta down the track. At the main road I turned right, heading for my mum’s semi and another fresh start.

In the rear-view mirror I saw the twins stretch small sticky hands across the carrier bag mountain between them.

The tyres hummed on the gleaming road. My seven league boots, each turn taking me further away from the mobile home of broken dreams. I’d get that perm. I’d get that job. I flicked the wipers on and sang along to the Johnny Cash tape that had been stuck in the stereo since February.

Perhaps I may become a highwayman again
Or I may simply be a single drop of rain
But I will remain
And I'll be back again,
and again
and again

The tape was so overplayed that the sound swelled and faded, as if borne aloft on a high wind.

I’d be back in three weeks.