2021 Hilarie Lindsay Prizewinning Story: Section 4

When He Was Here 

by Astrid Esslinger, Year 4, Austinmer Public School.

When he was here it was brilliant, magical in fact. But when he was called to go to war, sadness drowned me. He marched boldly to fight for his country. My mother and I were all alone. They were my only friends.

Memories of him flooded back. I remembered the time my family went on a picnic. There were rolling hills with an abundance of lush grasses and lakes.

The vast blue sky was cloudless. We were all tumbling down the hills.

I remembered the time it was raining dreadfully, so we decided to make spanakopita, but we left it in the oven for too long and it burnt.

The strange thing was that every time I remembered a bubble appeared. I watched the memory swim within the bubble, the iridescence swirled brightly. Then a stem grew at the bottom of it. I supposed that was because we gardened together, planting wisteria, asters and various kinds of beautiful roses.

I remembered when we pretended to be tigers. Catching our prey, full of pride as we stalked home. And how we ran in the fields of sunlight. He used to hide in the long grass, then spring out as I leapt towards him.

But after a few days into the war, the dreaded phone call came. My mum and I knew it would happen, but not so suddenly. He would always be a part of me, not in my mind but in my heart.

The bubbles in my room started to glow. My family once went foraging for mushrooms in a pine forest. We climbed the sky scraping trees as if we were monkeys. Then I fell. I had broken my arm. I felt pain but nothing compared to the pain he felt.

My room was my sanctuary filled with memories, precious memories. My mum and I would let some of the memories float around the house.

The glow of the bubble shone either purple for calm, grey for sadness, yellow for joy, green for boldness, red for rage and blue for love.

Most of the bubbles were yellow, blue, green and purple. There were a few that were red or grey. My room was swarmed with memories that were more valuable than diamonds.

Days went by that turned into weeks then, a memory of a meadow disappeared! Another bubble of a creek was replaced with thin air. More bubbles started to disappear.

My mum ran into my room and sang “The war is over! The war is over!” Tears of joy trickled down my face. The war was over and the only bubble left was one of my family together, smiling.

When he was here it was brilliant—magical in fact. But when he was called to go to war, sadness drowned me. A year and a half later, I was outside in the garden. Then I heard the flowers whispering my name in the wind as he stood beside me, hand in hand.

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