Creative Comedy Project

Fish By helen mosley

Your just like you aunt Marion you are.

It was a refrain I heard a lot; if I went into the bath and sploshed about, soaking the bathroom floor in the process, I jumped into a puddle, when I ran screaming away from the waves at the seaside: I was the spit of Aunt Marion apparently, it didn’t sound very nice but that was what I was.

It never occurred to me to ask why, it was just something everyone in the family always said, one of those sayings that unite and provide cover for a multitude of sins and a million shared family stories.

Aunt Marion was the baby of nine, a big family but a Catholic family as if that was any kind of explanation. She was the hanger arounder, the ‘can you look after’, and the one who always needed to be carried, late to walking due to being pushed around in carts and doll prams.

The children arrived back from swimming lessons at the local pool. Only this morning, it wasn’t just the boys who arrived back looking like otters, hair slicked back wet on their head. Marion was a walking puddle, dripping as she moved, pigtails drooping, telling a story of woe. She had toddled off to see the boys at work and learning over fell into the pool with a delightful splash, hauled out she’d had to sit, sopping wet, thumb in mouth whilst the boys finished their lesson.

Once cleaned up and presentable again the children had been sent out for a walk, with a strict warning to be careful and to be out for at least two hours. Grandma was a great believer in fresh air and exercise, both of which she took with her Saturday deckchair rest accompanied by a generous G&t. With warnings of good behaviour and look after Marion, the children headed off to the nearby wood with the glistening enchantment of freedom.

With a ballerina’s grace, all eight of the children managed to cross the stepping stones over the stream and to get to the other side, the side with the big rolling down hill. They had grand plans, two hours was a gift of time, however, Marion didn’t quite manage the crossing and fell bottom first into the stream. Shivering, she was squelched home.

For a nearly week she remained safe, it wasn’t until the following Sunday that she met her doom. The family were invited to visit our over the fence neighbour. We trooped around, smart as ducklings wanting to see the pond. Marion got a better view than any of us, being the youngest. She watched the fish for some time, enthralled by their rainbow movement, it had to happen, her being the first to fall in. Grandma this time hoiked her out and dried her and wiped away the tears but they still flowed, choking out the one thing bothering her:

Mummy, do you think that God wants me to be a fish?

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