Saturday 18 June 2022

'You used to flip over the page...' by Sue Pearson

You used to flip over the page in your Children’s Bible so you couldn’t see the other people and animals drowning as Noah’s ark glided by, because you couldn’t believe that this was how God loved

Small feet patter across the carpet to your side of the bed. Your brain groans. It’s another Christmas late night/early morning, and street light seeps through the crack in the curtain to your eye opened to a slit. He says he’s had a bad dream so you pull back the duvet. A rush of cold air engulfs you. His small form slips into the shell-shaped curl of yours. You quickly pull the cover over making a fit-for-two clam shell and wrap your arms around him to soak up his tension. He tells a story of the beach. How the people and sea were sucked to nowhere. How the sand shifted, pulling back under his feet. He describes the wave on the horizon, as big as a mega tanker. How he ran fast and faster up onto the dunes, to the top, searching for you, high down and low up, searching all over with the wave big, and bigger, and all the sea bunched up behind. And did you know it’s a bigger-than-churches wave and a faster-than-trains wave, and your wide eyes are focussed on the back of his golden, small boy head and you see it all - from the pictures of the people engulfed as Noah’s ark glides past in your long ago Children’s Bible, to the equally unrealistic pictures on your TV just hours before; and this boy that you thought you understood exactly, describes it exactly, and leaves you frozen inside out and drenched by all his words. Even as you soothe him you are breath-stolen, lungs-heaving and brain-aching. And years later you still can’t understand how this Santa Claus, Fat Controller, Thomas the Tank Engine worshipper was engulfed by a tsunami of impossible knowledge.

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