I’ve lived in this same small town since I was a child. Walked the same roads, with the same sounds and same smells. The same greetings in the same tones. The same stories – of birth and marriage and death; new jobs, new homes, new starts. New lives for new people.
And yet, for me there doesn’t seem to be any chance of a new start. A new life. This small town is all I’ve ever known. And there’s a part of me that knows that it’s all I’ll ever know.
This small town is my prison. No – not quite a prison. More of a stronghold. You see, it’s like in those old tales, of kings and queens and castles. And at the start, it’s great. Perfect, even. It protects you; keeps you safe. The enemy watches from down below, and it’s the best place to be.
And you love the people; the company. They’re all you’ve ever known, just as this place is all you’ve ever known…
But, then, one day, the walls of the stronghold start falling down, and you realise that you no longer feel safe. And the enemy starts coming up the hill, and you don’t recognise the people anymore. Your comrades are all gone, and everyone’s a stranger.
But you can’t leave. And as much as you try, it keeps you captive. The walls are re-built, but it’s not the same. And, for the first time in your life, you feel alone.
But the roots still grow through the soil – eternal reminders of once was, and what will always be…****
This (very) short narrative was inspired by a visit to some of my maternal family a few weeks ago. Quite a few comments were passed about the drastic changes in the town where they live - different people, schools, the closing down of family-run shops. Generally, a different - and somewhat unfamiliar - atmosphere. The feeling that although it is the same place, it feels so different...