December 15, 2020– A few weeks back we posted a writing prompt of a little girl in the snow with a pair of skates draped over her shoulder. We asked our readers to submit their work for the chance to be featured on our blog. Check out K.G. Watson’s story, Girl in the Red Coat below:
“Hey! Girl in the red coat.” The call rang across the snow. She’d been spotted. She walked on pretending not to hear. Another call. “Please don’t go. We need another player.” She turned to see who, in the group, had called. It sounded like another girl but everyone was in hockey gear, skating circles and passing a puck on the newly-frozen pond. The caller was short, like herself. “I see your skates and you were watching us. Can you come and play three-on-three?” The speaker hopped the snowbank and walked up the bank as she spoke. “These are figure skates,” she said as the other girl got close. She nudged them with resignation. “I see that. They’ll do. You were watching us for a while. You are coming from a lesson?” “Yep.” “Can you skate backwards?” “Of course.” The girl in red replied indignantly. Her cold hands holding skate laces under her velvet collar slid into her pockets. Mittens should have been there. They were home, clipped to the hot air register. The hockey girl noticed. “I have a pair of mine inside hockey gloves, and a spare stick and helmet.” She nodded towards bags at the log where the kids had been lacing their skates. “I’ve always wanted to try hockey besides in the driveway when my brother is out. Mom says it’s a boy’s game. And I’m too small. I have to take figure skating.” She watched the others. “Poor skaters,” she decided. “Well … Can you stay?” “Mom dropped me and I took the bus home. I live over there.” She nodded at the mansion on the edge of the park as she checked her phone. “She took my brother to his hockey game. He won’t be home for half an hour.” As they walked down the bank, her hockey hostess explained how she could start easily. “You can play defence. We have no goalie, just two forwards and a defence.” She pointed to the piles of snow that marked off the goalposts. “If you can skate backwards, stay just to the centre side of anyone coming at you. They’ll cut outside along the boards. Just back up, keep in place and angle them into the snow. When they fall, shoot the puck to a forward.” The others turned to welcome her; ponytails and stray ends peaked from under helmets; they were all girls. She appreciated the warmth of the woollen gloves lining the padded hockey ones that were set beside her while she laced up. She hefted the battered hockey stick. “Same as my brother’s,” she decided and glided into position. The other team was bringing the puck up from their end. Her greeter met the attack early but was late with a stab to free the puck. It shot to the other forward who cut inside theirs for the pass and was under-speed as she crossed centre ice, bearing down on the girl in the red dress coat. Red stepped to the attacker’s right leaving an opening on her left. The forward took the bait. But she hadn’t expected the quick response. With a little more speed, she’d get around the guard. A couple fast strides. The girl in red remained, preventing a shot on goal. She made one more spurt and ran out of ice at top speed; the puck slid free and … The girl in red stopped. “Are you OK?” The other girl was struggling up in a cloud of snow. “Never had that happen. Where did you learn that?” “What?” “You really deked me out. I was sure I could get around you. You let me commit and then moved me over like my dad’s dog herds sheep. The next try was unsuccessful too. The attacker stopped short but the girl in red poked the puck free and flipped it over the teammate’s stick to her own forward who sent a long lead pass to their player racing around their defence to score. She was complimented on the lift she put on the puck to get it past the opposition. “You handle a stick well. This isn’t your first time.” “My brother plays,” was all that Red said. As the sky slowly darkened, the girl in red learned stick tricks to block passes or poke checks. The streetlights were on when a van pulled into a parking place. “That’s my Dad. We have to go.” The girl in red looked at her watch,”. “Oh-oh. I’m late.” When she realized she still wore a borrowed helmet it was hard to find her red hat in the snow at the end of the log. “Maybe we can do this again,” the hockey player said. “What’s your name?” Laura,” said the figure skater. “What’s yours?” “Haley,” she said.
He hadn’t counted on going in. He’d just been too darned lonely house-sitting the place while its owner studied overseas. He really resented the inane or gratuitously violent TV offerings. So, after his TV dinner, he’d just gone out, walking, till he got tired enough to sleep – just like every other night for the past six months. But who counted? He had seen the bustle from a block away. Cars had been trying to get into the plugged parking lot. Lines of bundled-up families chatted excitedly and called to each other as they converged. Bright light bathed the spire and filled the windows. He found himself trapped between clumps of people ahead and behind and fenced in by the solid row of parked cars to his left. The human tide simply herded him off the sidewalk with them and up the broader approach to the double doors. Rather than step out of the line into the knee-deep snowbanks, he decided he’d just go with the flow. It wasn’t that he didn’t know the drill. It was Christmas Eve. How many similar services had he conducted through his lifetime? It’s just he couldn’t do it anymore. And he had nobody to not do it with either since Margaret had died back in the Spring.
The memory brought the image the Remembrance Cards the Funeral Home had produced. She had always demanded she be referred to as ‘Margaret’ never ‘Maggie’. A moment when he had called her that as he sang an old song about being young had set off an unexpected explosion. “I was named Margaret and that is the name on my Birth Certificate, and my Driver’s License and my bloody Passport,” she had shouted. “Get used to it!” She’d never sworn before or after. “OK,” he said to himself halfway up the walk. “What else is there to do tonight, anyway?” Most of the group ahead turned towards a side entrance – probably the Christian Education Wing or something similar – big gym, meeting rooms, kitchen, likely the church office. They left a pair of animated adults right in front of him. One pulled open the main door to let his partner enter and the two couples behind him all but pushed him inside.
He took two more steps forward and the group closed ranks behind him – a solid wall of backs in wool worsted. He reflexively pulled off his toque as he stepped through the inner vestibule doors into the sanctuary. Belatedly, he noticed he had passed the cloakrooms to the right and left just behind him. He had opened his coat. He’d be OK. At that moment he just wanted to get out of the road of the people now fanned out behind him. Three large steps got him into a pew with an aisle seat. A mother tugged a child closer to her, leaving the seat open. When she gave his tousled hair, last cut six months ago, and his three-day stubble a second look, she moved the child to her other side giving as much space as possible between them and the vagrant she obviously thought he was.
August 12, 2020-If you haven’t read Life Supports by KG Watson, you should. It’s a fantastic book that examines the important things in life. Here’s an excerpt from the story:
“It was during a search of my basement music storage for material that the ladies unexpectedly came across the box of cookbooks. I had forgotten I put them there, maybe I didn’t, maybe the kids put them there when they cleaned out the kitchen prior to the arrival of the students.
The Evercare bus had dropped me off at my house after the service. After I handed my just-used material back to the digitizers, I went to find what I thought I needed for next week. I had pointed to the boxes I wanted to look through and Margaret had hoisted them up the stairs and onto a cleared corner of the dining room table for sorting.
When I opened the first box there they were rank on rank of cookbooks, ragged with loose paper sticking out of them it was not what I expected. While Trudy and Jessica continued their perfected ballet with my music scores and the electronics, Margaret diverted her attention to scan this new trove. If it looks like a book, Margaret is helpless within its sight. The kitchen library has been stacked into the box spine up. There were fat volumes of cookbooks separating words of pamphlets on the top layer.
With the removal, a packet of letter size sheets and plastic archive folders that have been stuffed down the side, fell over onto the lower layer of pamphlets. Margaret pulled a page and couldn’t help noticing the title on the top peeking from beneath the rusting pinch clamp that held the clump together. Gingerbread Cookies it said in bold print, I sighed.”
There are recipes included in this book and I think that we should attempt to make a couple of them. Gingerbread just happens to be my absolute favourite cookie of all time!
I hope you enjoyed the above excerpt from Life Supports by KG Watson. Now available on Amazon and soon on our site!
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