Thursday, 11 June 2009
My Shed Jug - Illustrated fiction
The garden shed was a strange place to keep a pitcher, but nobody ever moved it, and that, of course, was why it was broken. It was a shed like any other -- a musty repository of hoes, rakes, and spiders -- but the pitcher seemed extraordinary. It was lovely, and I remember the feeling of horror I felt when I saw it at the charity shop and realized somebody had chosen to discard it. I took it home, determined to cherish it. But the cupboards were already quite full, and somehow everyone just took the water straight from the tap, and ignored the pitcher altogether.
So I made Seamus -- who was 15 then and already taller than my husband, me, and everybody else we’d ever met -- put it in the shed, thinking we might use it to water some flowers or herbs in a few months’ time. But we didn’t, and the next time I saw it, the thing was shattered and scattered across the floor.
I assumed it was the work of a critter, some lost squirrel or chipmunk who, upon finding nothing to eat acted out his anger and disappointment by simply knocking things over. I swept up the shards and carried them to the bin by the back door of the house. I went back inside; Seamus was making breakfast, and when I told him about the broken pitcher, his face registered alarm, as if he’d just remembered leaving his keys in the door. Then the flicker of worry was gone. I thought nothing of it then; I was sad about the pitcher, but I’d paid a quid for it at a charity shop, which wasn’t much to cry over.
Ten years later, Seamus got married and when his new sister-in-law got up to toast the couple, she was already quite tipsy and the first thing she said was, "I knew Seamus and Lila would get married after she called me to tell me about what happened in the garden shed." She actually didn’t say much more than that, quickly segueing to the spontaneity and immediacy of their love, which I agreed with. We raised our champagne flutes and suddenly I longed to have a day of Seamus’ childhood back. It wasn’t the innocence I missed, just the opposite in fact. I missed the mischief.