Summer in the 1990s

Sunset. Mid-July with a cloudless blue sky electric pink and flared with gold
The window frame of the caravan digs into my elbows
I lean out further
My best friend squashed against me
Side by side
Watching our dads sitting in brown and yellow-flowered deck chairs sipping beer out of clear plastic cups and smoking rollies that burned our noses and made us cough.
Later we ran between the caravans whilst the sun burned up the whole world, a brilliant orange
flash,
flash,
faster,
faster,
between each caravan
Blinding us until we stopped
Breathless, heartbeats louder in our ears than the cries of the seagulls
we sat in the dust on the kerb by the side of the road
The pavement still hot, the gravel hard
and we sat pulling dead grass from the cracks and flicking it into the road
And made up nicknames for passers-by,
Like โ€œbeachballsโ€, the woman with the big boobs
We sat and played games until it was almost too dark to see
We stood in line at the big white trailer that made the air smell sweet and burnt and salty and good
We bought hot dogs that burned our mouths and dropped fat and ketchup down our chins and wrists,
we ate candy floss that caught at our hair and coaxed the lazy evening wasps and those hard red candy lollipop dummies in clear cellophane that crackle and we paid with sticky coins from the pockets of jeans weโ€™d worn for two weeks straight.
Then, with our backs to the stars, we pushed grubby fingers between the cracks in the white tarpaulin tent
and watched red-faced women and men with beer bellies smoke and drink and sway to a woman with short red hair singing
Iโ€™m walking on Sunshine
until her voice was gone.

 

Raised simultaneously by David Bowie and Virginia Woolf, Natascha Graham writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as writing for stage and screen. She lives with her wife in a house full of sunshine on the east coast of England. Her play, How She Kills, was performed by The Mercury Theatre in August 2020 and broadcast on BBC radio in September. Her second play, Confessions: The Hours, has been performed by Thornhill Theatre London, and both have been selected by Pinewood Studios and Lift-Off Sessions as part of their First Time Filmmakers Festival 2020. Her poetry, fiction and non-fiction essays have been previously published by Acumen, Litro, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Yahoo News and The Mighty. Website: https://www.nataschagrahamwriter.com