Sky Light Rain – Little Blessings

Bench, Victoria Park by Judy DarleyEver wondered how a short story sparks into life? This series of posts offers insights into the inspiration behind the flash fiction and short stories that make up my Valley Press collection Sky Light Rain.

The twentieth story is ‘Little Blessings’. One scene in this story was plucked in its entirety from a moment when a man rushing to reach a train almost shoved me in front of it in his haste – I actually fell against the side of the train as it halted, but as I lost balance I had a strange instant when I was aware I was right in its path. The righteous anger that issued towards him by other commuters on my behalf was even more surreal. It was as though everyone had unknowingly been seeking an excuse to release some bile, and this hapless man ended up the recipient.

The story also features a box of mice that have been sitting in my subconscious since I glimpsed them on a bus while visiting my sister in France around twenty years ago, and a park bench where an abandonment occurs.

I wanted to use this tale to explore our weaknesses and the small, unexpected things that bring us solace.

It was originally published by a Canadian magazine called The Germ.

It begins:

My counsellor once told me to count my blessings, so I do.

I have my work. That’s a blessing. When the alarm clock shocks me out of sleep to the bleakest, rainiest mornings, it gives me a reason to uncurl myself, step outside, present my best side to the world.

I have my health. That’s a blessing. It equips me for the long, tedious walk to the train station. When my umbrella crumples, defeated, I stride onwards, strong.

And in its own way, the commute is a blessing too – a chance to travel faster than I can run without any discernible effort, an opportunity to people-watch, nose into the exterior layer of lives that are none of my business. A blessing of sorts even on a particularly frantic morning, when the trains are delayed and everyone is single-minded with one intent: get to work, and a man shoves me out of his way with such unexpected force I topple against the train that’s waiting. At least it wasn’t the moment before the locomotive arrived, at least I didn’t plummet down the chasm of the tracks, get gulped down by the train as it arrived. And to add to the celebratory sense of survival, success, at boarding the train in one complete piece, I have that odd, self-righteous enjoyment of being the wronged, of hearing other commuters berate my reckless shover. Of imagining his shame, quietly revelling in it till I almost feel I ought to apologise to him.

Almost, but not quite.

Sky Light Rain is published by Valley Press and is available to purchase here.

Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Untrue Blue‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Weaving Wings‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Woman and Birds.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Shaped from Clay‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Knotted Rope‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Two Pools of Water‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Apollo’s Offspring‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘The Puppeteer’.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Fascinate‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘A Blackbird’s Heart‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Paper Flowers‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Strawberry Thief‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘The Moth Room‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Far From the Farm‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Breaking Up With You Burns Like Fire‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Flamingos and Ham‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Elevated Truths‘.
Discover the inspiration behind my story ‘Not Every Wound Can Heal’.