A Hundred Gourds 3:3 June 2014

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Claire Everett - UK

Middle-Age Shred

Switch stance. Thirty years and more since he last rode goofy foot. Not long after that he became an apprentice decorator. His Dad had big ideas about the business becoming a father and son affair. It was his Mum who signed his army papers. Nine years a squaddie – a stint in the White Helmets the highlight of his military career. He’s done his fair share of labouring, plastering, security, shift work, pot-washing, gardening, Health and Safety. Now this, at the start of his sixth decade: a redundancy package. Time to take the money and run! At least to the next corner, play hooky for a while and hope that the Man doesn’t come looking for him.

a dream
of droppin’ in on
a six-foot half-pipe . . .
a mistimed kick-turn
and a blow to the knee

Wondering if he’s done the right thing. Only for a heartbeat. The whole day ahead of him. A pang of guilt. No, more of a twinge. The CV has been updated. Eighty plus job applications are “under consideration” (or not, as the case may be).

“You’ll not take just anything”, I say, “You’ve been there, done that”. He’s thinking about going it alone, but what to do? Courier? Photographer? Ma•ña•na. Sun’s up. The kids are all in school. There’s a great view of the skate park from the Science lab.

“Hey, isn’t that your Dad?”

it may be concrete
but it’s his to carve out . . .
lens flare
sun through a raindrop
his first 5-0 grind

Not sure how long it will last, but even if the 9-5 summons him again, he’ll be catching air at one end of the day or the other. It might mean a move from the park to the street. Who knows? But right now, there’s no mistaking that glint in his eye. Youth is never wasted on the not-so-young.

straight from the shower
sleek, toned and tattooed
he takes my hand
and lets me stroke the deck-art
on his new old-school board


Middle aged Shred

White Helmets

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