Not Far

Tim Love

Photo of a lawn with unmown grass. A small light blue toy car is in the bottom left corner. Some of the paint is worn off the car. A couple chunks of wood/sticks are nestled in the grass in the upper right.

Photo Credit: Rachel Beer/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

I watch our grandson from our kitchen window. He’s not used to a long back garden like ours. He’s crawled right to the end and found a piece of wood that he’s pushing to and fro making BrrmBrrm noises.

He likes playing down there, in his own little world, winter and summer. “This was your dad’s,” I tell him, giving him a racing car I found in the loft. There’s a coiled spring inside so when he pulls it back and lets go, it surges forwards across the grass. “Wow, thanks Gran!” he says, doing it again and again. He doesn’t seem to care that he’s getting no closer to the house.

Now he’s made the car all by himself out of Lego and is pushing it through the unmown grass, screeching round daisies. When he pushes down, wheels come off. He patiently mends it and continues towards me.

But the radio-controlled jeep lurches too fast, veering wildly into the rosebushes halfway down the garden. “The controls are too sensitive,” he says. “I’ll let the batteries run down”—turning the jeep on its back and revving. His grandad would have hated the whine.

The rest happens so quickly. In no time at all he’s back in the house. “Come on, Gran,” he says, lowering me into my wheelchair. “On your marks. Get set. Go!” He tilts me, kisses the top of my head, then wheelies me out to his new car, each little bump agony though I don’t say. My case is already in the back. He lifts me onto the passenger seat, wheels the chair back into the house, locks up, and sits beside me, resting a hand on my knee. “Dad’s waiting for us there. It’s not far. Ready, then?” he asks.

I nod, not looking back at the house that has been my life, that I know I’ll never see again.

“It’s electric,” he says. “Just feel the acceleration.”


Tim Love’s publications are a poetry pamphlet Moving Parts (HappenStance) and a story collection By all means (Nine Arches Press). He lives in Cambridge, UK. His poetry and prose have appeared in Stand, Rialto, Magma, Unthology, etc. Twitter: @TimLoveWriter | Facebook | Instagram: @timlove136

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