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 growing up by Claire Griffiths.
Dr Claire Griffiths was born of Scotland, landed in England, and hasn’t quite found her way home yet. She is Head of Creative Writing at Northeastern University London. Her short stories and flash fiction have been published by Vestal Review, Reflex Press, Litro, 101 Words and Flash Fiction Magazine, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and placed in competitions including the Bridport Short Story Prize, the SmokeLong Quarterly Flash Fiction Award, the Bristol Short Story Prize, the Bath Short Story Award and the Bridge Awards Emerging Writers Award.
‘(Wutch)’ follows three generations of one family as they consider their relationships.
Wee-lad launches Nanny’s boot off the zipline platform. Her second-hand Clarks carves a small rainbow, bark chippings tumbling from it as it flies. No often he does as he’s telt these days, Alistair thinks. Or so’s he keeps hearing.
They’ve been playing ‘Chuck Nanny’s Shoe’ since they got to Duthie Park and realised the zipline was gone. There was no sign left to say if it had been vandalised or removed to avoid vandalism. Unless the sign itself has been nicked. Just three wooden cabers remain, adjoined by a platform at the bottom and tied with rope at the top, like an ancient disused catapult. Daft to come here on a typically Baltic October day in Scotland, but Ma had insisted.
‘The line’s his favourite,’ she’d whined, as though she might stomp her wee trotters for good measure.
But the game’s diverted Joshy from moaning, which is all you can ask of a game for a three-year-old, really. And Alistair’s enjoying egging him on. Ma’s no enjoying it so much: hopping towards the boot each time it lands, the hood of her puffer jacket bouncing, cheeks aflame. She’s shooting Alistair daggers: ‘Take over – now.’ He’s ignoring them. Good exercise for the diabetes, Ma.