Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about memory by Alex Pickett.
Alex Pickett was born in South Wales and moved to Dorset during his childhood. He has a lifelong passion for all things creative, including writing, painting and illustration. Alex holds a degree in psychology, specialising in the science of reading, and works as a primary school teacher – a job he adores. His style of adult fiction is contemporary, often focusing on identity, relationships and memories. He has also self-published two collections of stories for younger readers, inspired by nature. Alex lives on a quayside, and the sea is often present in his writing.
‘A Stone’s Throw’ follows a woman’s return to the seaside town where her childhood holidays were spent.
The old car door closed with its usual bang and she looked along the road. Charlotte was surprised, briefly, by the sight of only two cars along the seafront. She got out the notebook, already bent at the edges and slightly damp from being in the door of the car. She hadn’t planned to use it yet, but the empty seafront road moved her.
You won’t believe this, she wrote, you won’t believe the sight of these spaces! You and Mum spent so much of the time arguing bitterly about directions, and then when we finally arrived, your voices drowned out my little attempts to shout about seeing the sea. You told Claire and me it was a competition – who could see it first; you never remembered to reward me.
She closed the notebook and placed it, harshly, on the roof of her car. ‘Don’t be bitter,’ she said aloud, ‘you’re not Claire. That wasn’t right for the first page.’ She considered tearing it out, before hesitating. Anything else – just anything – would be too deliberate, and she would always know that when she read it back.