Happy New Year and Prompt #1!

First and foremost, a happy new year to one and all! I hope that 2013 is a great year for everyone and that you all get what you hope out of it. I am aiming to get plenty of writing done this year, starting off with the 100k in 100 days challenge. I have already fallen a little behind due to an unwelcome migraine but I should make it up quickly enough! Sally Quilford – the organiser of this event – is giving prompts over on her WordPress account and there is also an active Facebook Group which I recommend checking out if you fancy taking part. I already organised my own prompts so I will be following from that as best I can whilst also working on my book.

Today’s prompt is: The Last Time You Cried.

It’s amazing how things can start off so innocuous. She had just finished playing a DVD, some instantly forgettable comedy rental, but found that it hadn’t quite hit the spot and decided to browse through the titles available on LoveFilm Instant. Without even realising it, she found herself in the Children’s TV section, looking through so many unrecognisable titles. A sharp shriek of delight cut through the silence and she looked around in embarrassment despite knowing that she was alone in the dark bedroom, huddled under the covers. There in front of her, a whole row of Fireman Sam episodes. Not those foreign-looking versions that poor children were being subjected to these days but the classic 80’s stop motion episodes. And right there, the very first one on the list: “Kite”. Without hesitation, she selected it and pressed play, snuggling in for the five minute treat.

The theme tune hit her like a blast from the past, the force of it like running into a wall of nostalgia. Despite having not seen it since she was a small child, she sang along with gusto, bouncing to the gaunty tune and messing up the lyrics with the ears of a child. The episode itself was just as she remembered it; the characters, the dialogue, the scenarios. It was the one episode that she had owned on videotape and she had watched it at least once a week, enjoying it just as much each time and still twenty years later. She found herself grinning practically all the way through the entire episode and giggling to herself every now and again at the absurdity of a 25-year-old watching Fireman Sam.

But as the closing credits began to roll, the instrumental theme kicking in once again, something caught her completely off-guard. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was but the sudden tug in her chest and the tears springing to her eyes were completely unexpected and impossible to stifle. The gentle nostalgia that she had felt throughout suddenly morphed into a sad, shrivelled loneliness and longing for a time long since passed.

Childhood should always be looked back on with a soft smile and perhaps a wistful sigh but never with tears. Once they had started, they were not easy to still as she thought back on those times when she had not a care in the world, when she was innocent of such things as sickness and death, the very things that now plagued her frenzied, irrational mind on a daily basis. What she wouldn’t give to go back to that time, when she was something of a nuisance – as are most children, let us be honest – but nothing like the burden she had become to those she loved as she now lived and breathed.

The thoughts came thick and fast and she hadn’t even noticed that it had moved on to the next episode until the theme managed to permeate the gloom of her mind. The tears and self-loathing came to an abrupt halt as she was promptly sucked into the show once again and found herself smiling along with Elvis’ adorable stupidity and the charming suburban friendliness always on display. And then she realised something. This shouldn’t make her sad, it shouldn’t make her dwell on how she has – god forbid – grown up, but it should make her embrace the child that still lives within, that still gets pleasure out of the little things. Rather than letting it remind her of how miserable she is now, she can let it lighten her mood and remind her that just because she has more on her mind now, just because she is a little more world weary, doesn’t mean that Fireman Sam isn’t still an awesome show, something to be enjoyed for no reason other than its simplicity.

And so, with that in mind, she wiped away the unwelcome tears, finished watching the whole first series of Fireman Sam and then grinned madly to herself when she found The Shoe People. It was going to be a long night and oh, how her inner 5-year-old would be delighted.

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