The Last Corner
Swinging on the old field gate, its hinges squealing like a pig off to slaughter, I asked what it meant. Grandpa pointed at it with his gnarled, tobacco-stained finger, the tip missing where he'd caught it in a rabbit trap. If the game keeper, the lazy sod, had been quicker he'd have lost the whole of his hand. Grandpa's eyes always crinkled up with laughter when he told the story, his eyebrows arching high in amusement. It was years later before I realised that story was about crime and punishment.
His caterpillar eyebrows were mighty, almost unibrow and growing in all directions. I was sure creatures lived amongst those wiry grey hairs. Hair sprouted from his nose and ears, long and thick. The stubble on his chin felt like the brush Mother scrubbed the front step clean with. My Grandfather was a Giant.
On Sundays my Grandma would spit into her palm and try to make those eyebrows presentable for God. Grandpa would shrug her off but you could tell he liked it.
"It goes to the last corner of the field."
"Can we go there, Grandpa?"
He drew on the clay pipe, sucking in his cheeks till they met. A lifetime passed before he shook his head.
"No lad, you'll find the last corner in your own time."
26 July 2012
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