Today we bring you the June winner of The Electric Discounter Writing Competition:
Mrs Merriweather And Boy
Winner June 2013 TED Writing Competition
They circled around him, patting their short feet on the soft lawn and just like that, they were fed up and returned to the water from where they came.
‘Walk swiftly now, we wouldn’t want to miss this.’ Mrs Merriweather hurried for the boy to come as she waved her old hands. ‘Come on now,’ she urged him. But the boy did not leave his position. Mrs Merriweather was sure he’d spoken. Very sure. In fact, she almost heard it.
‘Yes, I’d like to see the ducks, very lovely ducks!’ He praised her. ‘You’re great, Mrs Merriweather’. It was the boy again. Why, such a polite child he was. Always saying please and thank you and never forgetting his manners in front of anyone, even in front of her – the stout lady who never left the dinner table, dressed in a pale white robe and a dark bib.
Such a nice child! When the sun twinkled at them, Mrs Merriweather couldn’t help herself but smile. It had been such a wonderful day. The sky was tight like it was wrapped in foil. The boy was dressed by the earth, in his uniform that he never removed. Mrs Merriweather stood by the riverside and watched the ducks not minding the little boy at all. Sometimes he was so naughty! But it wasn’t a long time that passed that the boy started to laugh. It sounded so wonderful that the birds flew away. It was simply amazing. So Mrs Merriweather looked back at her boy and how he was simply admiring the horizon while she – oh she was so scornful, sometimes she did not even pay attention to him — to her almost son!
Eventually, the boy stomped towards her and came … angrily? No, definitely not. He was not angry, he was welcome, very welcome. But his laugh was sometimes too much, too happy and too big that Old Mr Bush had to pick him up and give him a slap! Mrs Merriweather couldn’t do it herself. It would have been devastating to see the boy like that. What would other people say? That she’d punish him and not listen to him like a good nurse?
The boy puffed. His yellow cheeks were swollen as if he’d swallowed an angry worm. Maybe it was still squirming in his mouth … angrier and angrier. So his mother came towards him, her big webbed feet marking the cold wet soil. Mrs Merriweather looked at them with her huge bespectacled eyes. They were curious. Trot, trot, trot.
Oh how cool they were. How the wind brushed them and the sun rubbed their cheeks and englowed their faces. Mrs Merriweather looked at them again. The boy looked at them too. And winked his eyes and yawned. He had such a big mouth. ‘Wonderful, isn’t it, dear?’ but there came no reply.
Eventually, the boy dragged his feet towards the riverside, watching the fluffy ducks beside Mrs Merriweather. How she was glad now! One of the little ducks walked towards them as its mother led the way. Quack, quack, quack. They made so much noise but they were such happy noises that none of them cared about listening. The mother was proud. Her little boy had attracted attention. How she was glad now!
They encircled the water going up and down the river and back again towards them. They flapped and darted across the blue and came back every time. And now the boy had extended his hand so he could touch them. Mrs Merriweather was careful. He did not know what he was doing. There came a horrid sound. Where had the boy been?
‘In the bush,’ piped Old Mr Bush with disapproving eyes. He had never liked Mrs Merriweather and the way she brought about her business, her bib always in the way, and that funny accent of hers too. ‘In the bush,’ he repeated.
So came Mrs Merriweather dipping her square feet in the water. ‘Boy,’ she called ‘boy!’ He wasn’t there.
Mrs Merriweather circled the other tree hoping that she’d find him hiding from her thinking it was hilarious to see her terrified. But the boy wouldn’t do that. Not to her. She pursued again and again, walking up and down the river as the ducks she was admiring had joined her again. The boy had gone missing. In front of her was the mother’s son, the great warrior with his big gentle chest out and his nose flared. Another had followed it and the two of them passed greeting before they left never to return. Quack. Quack.
Mrs Merriweather dragged herself out of the water as seaweed clung to her. She looked at it again.
It was awkward for seaweed to be in this part of the river but she picked it up and carried it back to the chair where the boy should have been. She clung to it and heard someone cry. In her hands was a dark boot, the colour of her bib and untied shoelaces dipped in mud. There was George.
Bio: Kim is currently completing VCE with Legal Studies being her favourite subject. In her spare time, she likes to write and aims to be a published author some day. Above is her emulation of Katherine Mansfield’s style focusing on the themes of the futility of war and the reduced role of women.