A big story about a small town

What was wrong with HER?

Crying, she climbed back on the bed. She was accustomed to not being given what she wanted,
Crying, she climbed back on the bed. She was accustomed to not being given what she wanted,
and disobedient by habit...
and disobedient by habit...
because grown-ups were arbitrary in their wrath and their rules, so she had learned to sieze her tiny pleasures wherever and whenever she could.
because grown-ups were arbitrary in their wrath and their rules, so she had learned to sieze her tiny pleasures wherever and whenever she could.
She watched fights ending in a blaze of fury and she watched him putting on his coat with tears in her eyes and walked out of their house.
She watched fights ending in a blaze of fury and she watched him putting on his coat with tears in her eyes and walked out of their house.
For the last time. She was used to people leaving her. The first and the greatest departure had been her father's.
For the last time. She was used to people leaving her. The first and the greatest departure had been her father's.
Her nightmares had been coloured...
Her nightmares had been coloured...
or black and white, but always terrifying....
or black and white, but always terrifying....
always someone hurting her...
always someone hurting her...
always someone leaving, someone close who had never said goodbye, but had simply waked out one day...
always someone leaving, someone close who had never said goodbye, but had simply waked out one day...
The sky was a cold iron-grey, a sharp breeze rattled the leaves on the immature trees, a spitiful chill wind that sought out her weakest places, the nape of neck and her knees which denied her the comfort of dreaming.
The sky was a cold iron-grey, a sharp breeze rattled the leaves on the immature trees, a spitiful chill wind that sought out her weakest places, the nape of neck and her knees which denied her the comfort of dreaming.
Once the school bus refused to pick them up, they threw rocks at the street lamps and found a secret spot along the local footpath to enjoy free sex...
Once the school bus refused to pick them up, they threw rocks at the street lamps and found a secret spot along the local footpath to enjoy free sex...
free drugs...until everyone disappeared, leaving her depressed, misearable, alone...
free drugs...until everyone disappeared, leaving her depressed, misearable, alone...
She picked her little brother and walked out from her rundown home with one window boarded over and the grass ankle- deep...
She picked her little brother and walked out from her rundown home with one window boarded over and the grass ankle- deep...
from the polluted and corrupted estate to somewhere they wll be loved and they will be free...
from the polluted and corrupted estate to somewhere they wll be loved and they will be free...
...finding the place they could call home...where no one woud leave and everyone stays...
...finding the place they could call home...where no one woud leave and everyone stays...
She inhaled and felt the power of the drug radiate out from her lungs, she forgot about her little brother leaving him behind next to river  where he wondered around crying wishing to be silently cradled until one wrong step....
She inhaled and felt the power of the drug radiate out from her lungs, she forgot about her little brother leaving him behind next to river where he wondered around crying wishing to be silently cradled until one wrong step....
and the water swallowed him. She found him too late. She had been asking herself many questions and coming up with few answers
and the water swallowed him. She found him too late. She had been asking herself many questions and coming up with few answers
 And one of the questions she asked herself: Was it love when somebody filled a space in your life that yawned inside you once they had gone?
And one of the questions she asked herself: Was it love when somebody filled a space in your life that yawned inside you once they had gone?
Love and death, dying in blazes of grief and misery. Trying to die, risking it and succeeding. No music and no memory of love.
Love and death, dying in blazes of grief and misery. Trying to die, risking it and succeeding. No music and no memory of love.

She was reminded of the day

after her son

had been born

sitting up in the bed

sunlight streaming through the window

her baby boy brought for feeding.


Birth and Death

the same consciousness

of heightened existence

the elevated importance

of that precious moment

when someone takes the first breath

when someone takes the last breath.


The familiar view

the tiny town

cupped in a hollow

the remains of the ancient abbey

and thin river

flowing around the edge

of the hill

and through it

straddled by a toy stone bridge.


The baby boy grew up

to be a lanky teenager

with pimples

and a taste for real love.


He dreamed of London

and of life

that mattered,

barely noticing

the oulook of asphalt

broken windows

and graffiti

through the dirty window

of his school bus.


The new cheap estate

with its maze of the concrete

and steel houses,

cracking and warping

swamped by the offsprings

of scroungers,

addicts

and mothers whose children

all been fathered by different men,

the place he met his first love.


Few smoking teenagers

loitering in the defaced bus shelter

daubed with obscenities.

The bus instead of stopping

speeded up,

they threw rocks after it

and laughed,

no school today for them.


"Look at them,"

the bus driver spatted angrily,

"Sitting at their assess and waiting for the council,

District and Parish to clean, repair, maintain

and give and give and give again."


The teenager looked behind

with an ache in his heart

and his balls

on the disappearing group

and the girl of his dreams

among them.


Then he turned back

to meet the eyes

of the disgusted

bus driver

in the rear-view mirror

and he hated,

the sly, quizical look

on his face,

pretending to know

more than others

pretending to be more

than others,

just like his parents,

just like the most inhabitants

of the old town,

they have been passing

right now.


The teenager watched the bus driver's eyes

shining suddenly

with a kind of moral radiance

bumping on its cobbled streets,

along its picturesque houses,

the hanging baskets in the square.


"Very little district's resources reach that poor estate,"

the teenager burst out suddenly.

"What did you say,"

the bus driver shouted back.

"Nothing," he just shook his head

thinking of his father,

boasting that money

signed to improve the estate's dilapidated streets

ended up in his private pocket.


The bus stopped again

to pick up more

privileged children

in the coveted blue and white uniforms.

He acknowledged them

by nodding his head

and gazing out of the window

thought about his parents,

strangers,

clothed,

always

in an invisible layer of decorum

that they never laid aside,

strangers,

connected to him

merely

by chance and proximity.


Silent Spring rain

sprinkled the oval

when he got out

and ran across it

to be

far away from

the St Thomas School

as possible.


Feeling shivery,

ruffled

and tense,

he experienced none

of the satisfaction

that was usually his

when he met his schoolmate

at the far end.


He swore out of the habbit

when his voice broke,

horrified and embarrassed

he turned away

his flushing face

and inhaled the offered smoke,

feeling the power of the drug

radiate out from his lungs,

unwinding and loosening him,

taking him away

from the rain,

the pettiness

and the sameness.


Anogher drag,

it was like having his mind shaken out

like a duvet,

so that it resettled without creases,

everything become suddenly

so smooth, simple, easy and good.


Love and Death,

dying in blazes of speed and glory,

his mind wondered

left to its own devices,

trying to die, risking it.

And music,

he loved music

and HER.


There was a hard chunk of grief

in his throat

and he couldn't shift it,

not even with the power of drugs.




The Casual Vacancy

More by this Author


Comments 38 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Voted up and interesting. Quite a work.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

thank you, my fellow hubber, just one thread from this rainbow story full of interesting characters and their amazing lives that could stand individually by their own rights but somehow they all fit together to make a big engaging puzzle of a town:)


Gcrhoads64 profile image

Gcrhoads64 3 years ago from North Dakota

Very powerful and moving. ++


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Another real life story in poetry. You do very good work. Thanks for being a part of this community.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 years ago from Central Florida

Wow, Beata! What a sad story but true for too many people in the world. We must always show our love and support and never let our loved ones feel as if they are alone in the world!


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

Great work, with a special message! You communicated the story, with limited words and effective pictures, so easily.

Very well done!


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 3 years ago from Louisiana

I like how you always have 2 stories in one. The words on each picture, forming a story of its own, and I never know if i should read it with the main text or after. but I always read it, going back and forth. and it always seems to fit. Great story. Very interesting and as always beautiful pictures to accompany it.


Annie Miller profile image

Annie Miller 3 years ago from Wichita Falls, Texas

So moving ... the parallel lives. Beautiful.


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

With words and images, you've created a provocative montage of small town life. Thank you so very much for stimulating one's creative juices, Beata Stasak!

Aloha!

Joe


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 3 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

Wow.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you, my fellow hubbers, like always for your genuine and encouraging responses, behind every successful creative work there is a great story that force us to dig deep inside us and find that right creative juices to follow on our feelings and impressions once we close the book...for me this time it was the 'Casual Vacancy' and I picked just two little stories from a big pot of characters and interwinned them together to convey my own little message:)


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

Beautifully written, the difference between a small town and a city is like night and day..Loved it....


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you, my dear fellow hubber, always great to hear from the one that always explores and find what she is looking for:)...B


diogenes 3 years ago

Hi Beata: You are the most inspired and compelling poet writing on HP, if that's not damning you with faint praise. The imagery in this work is really superb...I loved the "spatting" bus-driver, who reminded me of Maggie Thatcher.

So true of how so many underprivileged kids begin their decline. So stacked against them escaping their beginnings. Why is their not the hot blood of revolutionaries in Britain where every waking moment of the ruling classes and their emissaries is to bleed the poor in order to safeguard their own greed and status quo.

Keep it up Beata...mightier than the sword!

Bob


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you for the praise, Bob, but it would be unfair to take all for myself, I was inspired by the story of the mighty J.K. Rowling after all:) All the best and thank you again, Bob:).....B


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 3 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

You had me at the moment of first breath and the last breath


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you beaufitul lady it is always good to hear that:)


agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 3 years ago from Indonesia

Very beautiful work. The world is so colorful with this wonderful hub. Vote up.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you, my fellow hubber for your kind words, I have a good friend in Indonesia so your country is close to my heart:)


writinglover profile image

writinglover 3 years ago from Lost...In Poetry

This was amazing! I'm surprised I haven't seen this, or any of your other hub for that matter. Anyway, this was quite an awesome, yet sad, narrative. Voted up awesome!


sallybea profile image

sallybea 3 years ago from Norfolk

I love this piece of work. I find myself especially intrigued by some of the beautiful images and would very much like to see credit given to the individuals whose work they are.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

thank you, my fellow hubbers, happy you liked my last piece, your exquisite description of my hub is better than my actual writing:)


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Hi, Beata!

Since there is no other appropriate space to let you know - I accidentally deleted (I wanted to press the "Comment" button, but pressed "Delete" instead) your answer to my question about watching foreign movies with subtitles.

Maybe because my head is spinning at the moment.

I glanced at your absolutely beautiful hub, it looks magical.

Thanks again for your answer, I've got to lie down, I don't feel too well, unfortunately!

Take care,

kallini2010


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

Hope you feel well soon, dear Kallini, it is okey, do not worry about it, it is good you know my answer:) Greetings to Toronto, Canada, hope your weather warms up soon and beautiful spring will finally reach your shore, I plan to visit your beautiful city in July:) All the best from Beata


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Hi, Beata! Thanks for the warm message! It is already becoming warm and beautiful, flowers are about to bloom. In July it will probably be HOT, HOT, HOT!

Toronto is a unique city in a sense - I was reading up about it (thinking to maybe write about it), but as long as climate is concerned we have on average about 300 sunny days and that is wonderful. I am originally from Moscow, the city of gloom and cold/rainy summers sometimes and miserable falls (autumns). Toronto is very different.

I hope you enjoy your stay here. If you had enough time to spare we can go out for a cup of coffee - I've only met one hubber, he is from Toronto, too, but other than that my online hub friends never visit!

In any case, have a wonderful day and a wonderful trip! I hope you'll like our city!


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

Kalini, that is amazing, I have been born in Slovakia and studied Russian language in Volgograd. Now I live in Perth in Western Australia. It is great to meet you here, our world is such a small place after all...happy you feel better and all the best:) Beata


thost profile image

thost 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Very powerful work here. I will vote this Hub up.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you thost for your encouriging and kind answer:) All the best to you my fellow hubber and greetings to Ireland from Australia:)


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

Wow, I really like your style of writing, the two stories side by side, and the photos. You write beautifully!


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

thank you, Kathryn, I have found my style of writing that suits me best and I am very happy when readers like it too, I can not write other way:)...B


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

A big story about a small town a great hub with so such thought put into this hub and so much to think about.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you so much my fellow hubber, do you know my family comes from Croatia originally so I have very soft spot for your beautiful country, have been in Zadar few years back, just beautiful:)....all the best from Beata


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 3 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

This is so evocative of so many lives and situations.

Where is your inspiration taken from?

West Australia?

I feel now - or is W.A. bleak now, as you have described it?

This resonates; it really does.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

My inspiration, my dear fellow hubber from the other side of the world is taken from everywhere as we very complex human beings and life is complex, I love reading so books are the main source, I love living in spite of all the troubles and strife I encounter every day just like every one of us so LIFE is the biggest source for sure:) Western Australia is my home now and is the life bleak here now? No, I would not say that...life is bittersweet here just like everywhere else....maybe you would like to read "One day in one city"...it is about living in Perth, maybe it opens your window little bit more to the place where I live:)....all the best from Beata


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 3 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Beata, I love Perth and will read 'One day in one city' as soon as I get home this evening.

I lived in Victoria Park, Maylands, North Perth, and eventually, in the City of Perth in Adelaide Terrace, and so any reminders of that beautiful city will be so interesting for me.

Thanks for replying so quickly.

Ian


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

thank you Ian, I love Perth too in spite of everything:) The world is such a small place after all, it is good to getting to know you:) and all the best with hubbing and living...looking forward to hear from you again:)...B


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 3 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Beata, I know it’s against HP’s rules, but could I “push” you towards a couple of my hubs that might interest you?

They are: ‘Bridges and Connections’ and ‘A Rake’s Progress in One or Two Easy Stages’. The latter one is in three parts, but both will give you an idea of the Perth I knew.

‘Bridges and Connections’ deals with my arrival in Perth in the early years after World War II.

‘A Rake’s Progress in One or Two Easy Stages’ might interest you as it mentions landmarks which I hope are still there.

Anyway, both were written more as an exercise in self indulgence, but that, you may discover, is what makes me who and what I am.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

Of course Ian, happy to do it, looking forward to discover what makes you...YOU:)

I don't think it is against rules to navigate someone towards your hubs if there is a reason for it, I have done the same with the 'One day in one city', rules have to make sense for me otherwise I am not very good in following them:)....all the best Ian and thank you...will come to visit you soon:)

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