I loved this challenge. I seriously had great fun doing it and am looking forward to next year already. Not having done a blog before, and literally using this challenge to kick start it (I’d only done one post previously), my page is very vanilla, with no fancy trimmings, links (I don’t even know how to do them), colour, etc.
Maybe because of this I don’t have any followers, or maybe it’s because my writing really is shit and I should take the hint. I did not prepare any of my posts (except for the letter P), but rather typed them on the fly. I usually blog after 8pm at night, so time is limited in that respect. I’m happy that I got up the courage to post my stories even if the response (at this stage – I’m forever hopeful), hasn’t been huge.
However, I’ve had a decent number of views over the course of this challenge and of the comments I have received on my blog have all been genuine and very encouraging and I thank those people for leaving them.
A couple of times I struggled with content and towards the end, my enthusiasm did wane, but having come so close, I knew I just had to finish. One regret is that I didn’t get to read enough blogs during the challenge, much less comment on them. I hope to rectify that in the coming weeks.
Thanks again for the challenge and for the encouragement both from new people I’ve met online and my existing friends. I’m grateful to you.
It’s so cold my hands are freezing. My fingers are numb and I can hardly stick them inside my gloves to warm them up. My toes hurt from stamping in my boots to try and get some feeling back into them. Why am I out here watching this bloody stupid game of soccer in an Irish winter? Why didn’t I stay at home with the heater on watching an old movie on telly?
My jeans aren’t thick enough, I need long johns underneath. I know it’s only December, but Jesus Christ it’s bitter. I’m not used to this, not used to this at all. The winters aren’t this bad in Sydney and if a day gets below 10 degrees celsius then no-one goes outside. Well they do, but only to say “Fuck it’s cold out there mate. It must be snowing in the mountains” and then they go back inside, light the fire and turn the telly on. They don’t stay outside and they don’t go out to watch their boyfriend play soccer. Parents do it, but only because they have to and because it’s their turn to drive their kid and 3 other mates to the match. Then when they’ve drop each kid home afterwards, have to listen to the gleeful shouts of “Thanks for giving him a lift. Glad it was you and not me out there today!” Ha bloody ha, the Dad (because in this weather it’s usually always the Dad), mutters as he drives off.
Is it time yet? Time to go? I’d check my watch but then I’d have to extract my hand from deep inside my jacket pocket and peel back my sleeve. I can’t do that. Oooh it is time! Yippee! I giggle like a schoolgirl and would clap my hands and jump up and down except that I’m afraid my frozen toes would shatter like glass inside my shoes.
“Do you want to go to the pub with the lads?” my boyfriend asks. I stop and think. It will be warm in there – warm and toasty. I could sink into a comfy chair and order a cup of tea. Oh, I could almost feel the hot liquid wooshing through my icy veins straight down into my toes bringing them back to life. I could order a lovely thick ham sandwich and hot chips and gravy and warm my cold empty belly with delicious starchy heaviness.
“Oh, I suppose so. If you really want to” I say.
Jonathon sits waiting at the lights in his car talking on his mobile phone. He is new to driving in KL and although he’d been a passenger plenty of times, now that he was actually behind the wheel, Jonathon was all of a sudden feeling slightly nervous. Given that KL was difficult to negotiate, particularly the city centre, Jonathon decides to ring the pre-school to find out exactly where they were located. The woman on the other end of the phone is very patient and good at giving landmarks as well as street names. She has obviously done this before. Jonathon turns to his two year old daughter in the backseat and smiles at her, grateful she is sitting quietly. As Jonathon turns to face forwards he looks out of his windscreen straight into the face of a policeman sitting on his motorbike staring at him.
“Oh shit!” Jonathon quickly drops his phone into his lap hanging up on the lovely lady as he did so and stares straight ahead. “If I don’t acknowledge the policeman, I’ll get away with it right?” Jonathon thought.
The lights turn green and the policeman waves Jonathon through. What does that mean? Is he letting me go? A quick glance in Jonathon’s revision mirror showing the cop right behind him with blue lights flashing, tells Jonathon that he hasn’t got away with anything. He pulls over to the side of the road puts the car into park and smiles again at his daughter.
“Daddy has to talk to the policeman now honey. You just stay quiet ok?” The baby stares back as the policeman taps at Jonathon’s window.
“Hello!” Jonathon smiles broadly.
“You were talking on your mobile. It’s a 300 ringgit fine.”
The smile slides right off Jonathon’s face dragging his bottom lip down with it. He stares slack jawed at the officer, not fully comprehending the amount of the fine.
Jonathon closes his mouth and fumbles in his wallet for his license.
The policeman studies the license in silence. “You’re from Australia?”
“How long have you been in KL?”
Oh no! Jonathon thought. Am I going to get done for not having a local license as well? If I say I haven’t been here that long, maybe I can get away with it. “Ummmm about 3 months.”
Jonathon kept his wallet open on his lap where the cop could see it. He had heard about local cops taking bribes and wondered if it was going to happen to him. He felt a little excited at the prospect.
“Hmm” the policeman grunted. “It’s 300 ringgit. I’ll give you a ticket.”
“But 300 ringgit? That’s too much!” Jonathon protested. He didn’t know how much the fine was for talking on a mobile phone while driving, but was sure the copper was pulling a fast one.
“That’s the fine. I give you ticket.” Fuck a duck! This guy was for real. It really was a 300 ringgit fine.
“But I was ringing for directions. I’m new here. I don’t know where to go.” Jonathon pleaded.
The policeman stopped for a moment, “How much can you pay?”
Jonathon did a double take, “Pardon?”
“How much can you pay? You say 300 too much, how much can you pay?”
Jonathon thought, here we go! Here’s the bribe! He quickly ducked his head to hide his smirk while he looked in his wallet. Great. That’s just great, he thought. “Uh, I have 10 ringgit.”
“Huh? That’s all?” The copper said. “You must have more, 10 ringgit is not enough.”
“Well, that’s all I have.” Jonathon said. “you can take it now.”
“No. You must give more.”
“Well, ahhh, I can go to the bank?” Fuck! Why did I say that?
“How much will you pay?” Oh for God’s sake he’s taking me up on it! Shit. Shit. How much should I offer? “Ummm one hundred?” Jonathon blurts out and immediately regrets it.
The policeman pounced, “What bank do you use?”
“Do you use Public Bank?”
“I, uh, yes.”
“I take you there. Follow me.”
With that, the copper walked back to his bike and took off into the traffic. Dumbly, Jonathon followed him his mind racing. What am I doing? No-one knows where I am or where I’m going. I don’t even know where I’m going. Oh, I am an idiot. One big fucking idiot.
Up ahead the policeman indicates the bank on the left and pulls into a car park on the next corner. Jonathon pulls in behind him and stops. The cop comes to his window and tells Jonathon to go to the bank, come back to the car and then follow him again.
Jonathon gets the baby out of the car and walks to the ATM. He was starting to panic now and really regretting his decision not to take the fine. He was not excited about the bribe anymore. In his haste, it took Jonathon two attempts at the ATM before realizing he was using the wrong card. He glanced down the road and saw the policeman sitting on his bike watching him. Is this for real?
Finally Jonathon got the money and walked back to his car ignoring the copper as he walked past. I could be in a movie, he thought. As he started the car the police motorbike appeared in front of him and like a lamb to the slaughter, Jonathon obediently followed.
A couple of turns later they stop in a quiet street. Jonathon lets out a slow breath and holds the money in his sweaty hand. The policeman walked up to his car and says, “Where are you going?”
Jonathon tells him the name of the street he is looking for, and while the cop stands adjacent to the car pointing out streets with his right hand, he put his left hand all the way in the driver window palm up. Jonathon puts two fifty ringgit notes into the outstretched hand and watches, mesmerized as the money is crumpled up into a small ball that fit neatly into the palm of this autonomous hand. How practiced it all was!
The policeman then leaned down to Jonathon and said: “You won’t ever talk on your phone again, will you?”
“No officer. I will not.”
A is for After. I’ll write something today after I drop the five year old at school. I’ll just have a cup of tea and then I’ll write something after that. I’ll get onto my writing straight after I play with the baby. I know I said I’d write after I put S into bed for a nap, but I need to do some shopping for tonight’s tea. Oh look how the day has flown! It’s time to pick up J from school. Then I’ll go home and get S and go out for a play and a swim and tire the kids out and we can order pizza for tea – it’s Friday night and I’ll save the stuff I bought today for tomorrow night instead. I’ll write something after we put the kids to bed. I won’t have time beforehand.
Right girls into bed, no don’t whinge. Yes it is bedtime. No, you cannot have dessert tonight. Well it’s late for one thing and you just had pizza so we can save the icecream for another night. Tomorrow night. Okay? Right. Upstairs. Oh, you can walk. I know you’re tired but you’re too big for me to carry. Come on now, up the stairs. Here, hold my hand and we can walk up together. Daddy will bring the baby up. Okay. Into bed. Yes that’s a great witches hat, now take it off and get into bed. No, I don’t know where that doll’s shoe is. You don’t even play with that doll! Look! You know what? Put the doll down, take the hat off and get into bed. Did I bring up your water? I’ll bring it up after I say goodnight to the baby. Goodnight sweetheart.
Okay S where are you? Time to say goodnight. You don’t want to go to bed? You want to go outside? No, it’s bedtime. No, you can’t go outside, it’s time for bed. Please stop yelling at me, you need to go to bed. Put your head on my shoulder and stop crying. Come on now. No, bed time. Twinkle twinkle little star. Better now? Okay, into bed. Good night sweetheart.
Mum? Mum? Did you get my water?
Not yet. I’m getting it now. Why are you crying? What do you mean you’re bored? You’re bored with everything? Like what? Oh, doing dot to dot at school. What else? Oh, school lunches and the food we have here in the house? I see. Anything else? Just everything. Well, I can see how that would upset you. Tomorrow we can organise things for your birthday party tomorrow, that will be fun. You might even get a game for your birthday and then we can have a family games night if you want? Oh, you want to do it with your friends? We can try and do that one afternoon I guess. Let me see, you have one more week until school holidays and we can do some exciting things then. After the holidays you start gymnastics and you join the sporty girls club on Saturdays which means that you will be doing lots of things so you won’t be so bored then will you? Alright sweet pea. Good night.
Heading downstairs I realise that I’ve got to start that writing challenge. I really want to have a crack at it. I’ll write it after I get J her water.
Luckily for me my husband takes the water back upstairs for J. I grab myself a drink and sit down with my laptop. It’s been a long week and after all that I’m tired.
How am I going to start this challenge? What shall I write about?