A haibun on a childhood experience for Dverse poetics

I’m nine years old and I’ve been down to the shop for Mum, dawdling a bit longer than I should have.  Now it’s getting dark, and I have a couple of blocks to walk before I get home.  But these streets are familiar and lights are coming on in the houses around me.   A car pulls over to the pavement a little further up the road, where the shadows are deep from a high wooden fence.  The engine is running, and someone in the back seat opens a door so that it’s partly across the footpath.  My steps slow, and I’m uneasy about what is happening.  But I’m a good sprinter, so I suddenly take to my heels and race across to the other side of the road.  The car door slams, and it starts to do a sudden turn.  Fear lends wings to my heels.  I’m not far from home and I run faster than I’ve ever run before.  My heart is in overdrive.

I arrive panting into our warm bright kitchen and try to tell my mother what happened, but she’s busy and not really listening.  I just know that I have avoided something black, something that will always be there, somewhere at the back of my mind…

of long winter nights
closing in

41 thoughts on “NOT THIS TIME:

  1. Nice, those little things that happen and mean so much to us, you were lucky. I know I’m guilty of not listening to what my children were saying in their younger years, it’s only now when they talk about it I realize it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a terrifying experience. You told it very well. Sometimes we (parents and non-parents) tend to block out others when we are busy. This shows that sometimes we really do need to listen.

  3. That must have been one very frightening experience – and good on you for relying on your gut instinct! Another haibun about loss of innocence and being forevermore aware of the darkness just beyond…

  4. Your intuition was absolutely right and this experience has probably strengthened it. The haibun has great pace and the closing haiku works very well. I am so glad you were safe 💖

  5. This is such a compelling memory….I’m so glad that fear lent wings to your heels (what a gorgeous description you’ve created there!) and that you were safe. The ending holds profound meaning in light of the dangers you likely avoided.

  6. Hi Maureen, and thanks for the follow! I’m glad because it made me discover your blog. Very powerful piece of writing this is, I’m looking forward to exploring further. Pleased to meet you, Marina

  7. Dear Kiwi. I had a similar experience a block from my house at the age of twelve or so. I faked waving at an invisible neighbor and turned back…walking and eventually running. My mom listened and called the police who came and interviewd me. Wow, you certainly brought back a memory long stored in my mind. Great writing and photo.

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