A Triptych by Mary Thompson


A little boy is blowing bubbles. They whorl and drift and swirl and he reaches his arm into the air to catch one. Pop! His blonde sister giggles and shoots some more, while an elderly lady staggers up, hand on hip to watch. Her suit-clad husband, trilby on head, leans back in a deckchair observing, while a pair of young lovers embrace. The girl raises her mouth to his, then grips his hands and presses them into her pregnant belly as cumulus cloud gathers. And in the background, a lady in a white jumpsuit buys a strawberry ice cream from a white kiosk.


The birth of two babes. Twins clad in swaddling robes. In their red-bricked backyard next to the outdoor toilet, Auntie and Mama rock the nippers, while Dad gazes adoringly at one. Is it the alcoholic sailor or will this one turn out to be the priest? My young father scribbles down his burgeoning life story in a notebook. He doesn’t know he’s my father yet. A pipe sticks out of his mouth at a jaunty angle. He sits with his back to the window, as coruscating sunlight streams in, catching his mussed-up hair and making it shine.


Old pals lounging in deckchairs natter away on a stony beach. The ladies wear flowery dresses and crunch apples in this, the sunset of their lives. The face of the chubby one looms upwards like a blossoming flower, while the chap with the moustache removes his specs and smiles to himself, his grey socks visible. The lady at the end is knitting her life away and behind them a toddler’s tiny feet run roughshod over all their fading dreams.

Mary Thompson lives in London, where she works as a freelance English teacher. Her work has recently featured in journals and competitions including Flash 500, Retreat West, Reflex Fiction, Funicular Magazine, Spelk, Ghost Parachute, Cabinet of Heed, Ellipsis Zine, LISP, Literary Orphans and Bangor Literary Journal, and is forthcoming at Pidgeonholes and Riggwelter. She is a first reader for Craft Literary Journal.

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