Monday, 17 June 2019

Write-In 2019: 'Catharsis' by Ahaa Jan

I expected there would be, but there is no deliverance watching my school collapse into clouds of dust, each an unresolved memory. I imagine swinging the wrecking claw but it’s too late; I’m still that child.

At the school gates, now the site entrance, a thirty tonne tipper grunts under its full load, impatient to exit. I get the nod and trample the grit of tyre tracks that vanish in arcs onto the road.

I let a funeral cortege pass. In the polished black I see him again; Dad, the lollipop man; hair as white as my hard hat; his lip stiffer as the mocking children cross. Seems I’m starting where he left off but I don’t measure up.

I step in front of a double decker because its driver will understand. I raise my ‘STOP’ sign on its pole and put the queue of irate commuters from my mind knowing another labourer delays the opposing traffic behind me.


Then a pneumatic hiss in stereo. Doors clatter open. Someone jumps off the bus. Shrieks as a cyclist avoids him. He strides toward me; the revving engine. His malice minds my sign, the high visibility jacket, the family resemblance but sees my father.

“Want to hear a joke?” he shouts, reprising our pasts.

I squeeze the pole like I squeezed my Mum's hand.

“You!” he roars, crossing me, laughing, staring at the past when I see the unavoidable present in his eyes. He sees me, I’m sure because he never sees the tipper coming.

I am stunned. What’s this I’m feeling?

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