Perfect centre

The mother, father and two daughters moved along the pavement as corners of a perfect square. A wholly unremarkable shape, exactly as to be expected, ninety degrees wherever you looked.

The father held his youngest daughter’s hand. About 9, she had the gangly look of a plant that’s too quickly bolted, now looking down uncertainly at the ground below, the blush of adolescence beginning to seep across her petal-shaped face. Hair a mess of curls that would one day be her pride and joy, her knees bending in all directions as she stepped along purposefully with a light elasticity. The clasp of her father’s hand like an apple tree trying to maintain its grip on a ripening apple, knowing all too well it’s about to fall, looking at its soon-to-be-lost fruit with pride yet confusion.

The elder daughter walks in front with Mother. As far as Mother is concerned, this apple is going bad. No hand-holding here; about 14 years of age and already starting to stretch her corner a little outwards, disrupting the harmony of the right angle. Still dressed in the sensible clothes chosen by her penny-conscious mother, she’s brooding, half-child half-harlot, about to burst out of her chrysalis – less apple than the larvae feasting on it, full of promise and ready to fly away when it’s had its fill.

The smell of something roasted hangs in the air, defying the mizzle trying to dissolve it. Blocks of houses nestled at the end of driveways with neatly pruned roses either side, newly-washed family saloons waiting for a less overcast day, ready to go elsewhere to make the memories.

Written by Emma611.

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