Trifecta: Normal

He bit excitedly into the apple, savouring the sweet juiciness even as it dribbled down his chin.  In his head, the world paused and focused on the delicious tastes and textures of the treat but his feet kept pace with the dirty, ragged shoal of boys as they twitched and swirled from one mischief to another.  He knew that it would be dangerous to lose this protective crowd here in this frontier between two worlds, a land of worn, cracked pavements and tatty shop fronts, a jumble of ethnic markets and knock-off sporting goods.

It segued gradually from the tatty shop fronts to another world of long abandoned, almost derelict fronts.  There were women loitering by the lampposts, brashly painted in skimpy clothes and wobbling, cheap heels.  An occasional car cruised by causing faces to look up.  In some of the doorways, men stood, singly usually, caps pulled low, a conscious look of disinterest on their faces but they saw everything that went by.

The boy sighed to himself with the last bite of the apple core; he had a long wait until he was old enough to run their errands, earning himself more than just the coins that they tossed out.   He liked his own bravery, cocky in his swagger as he stepped over an unseen line into that frontier land, proud of who he was and where he’d come from.  He had yet to travel beyond into the other world that his brother would hardly mention.

They raced down the street, each hundred metres or so getting dingier and more derelict.  Under the arches by the riverfront, the piles of rags and cardboard muttered and cursed at them as they swept past, tearing worn blankets and strips of card free.  He laughed at the game, joining in with light, practised hands.

They’d spend the afternoon on the waterfront, in one of the old yards, tearing things down, kicking oil drums.  The normal summer’s afternoon in the only world he had ever known.

This week’s Trifecta challenges asks us to use the third meaning of the noun ‘normal’ (a form or state regarded as the norm : standard).  Using normal as a noun doesn’t quite seem normal because that surely is an adjective?  Anyway, I find it fascinating how as children we accept whatever ‘normal’ life presents us with and it is only later that we realise the diversity of lifes and worlds around us and how perhaps what we once perceived as ‘normal’ isn’t actually the case.


21 thoughts on “Trifecta: Normal

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  1. I really loved this. I felt right there in that derelict part of town, felt the swell of the boy’s chest as he braved it all. Great job.

  2. I agree with Jester: the strength of this piece is that it is written without any kind of judgment. I, too, enjoyed it very much. Thanks for linking up. Unfortunately, you used the word as an adjective (describing summer) instead of a noun. I read your note about how normal is an adjective. It is, but it’s also a noun. Like, “This is our new normal.” It was a really tricky one!

    1. The problem with normal (noun) is that it is normally an adjective which was very difficult! I think I should I have just said that it was his normal but by then I’d debated it in circles too many times to have an idea whether I was using it any which ways! Thank you. :)

    1. Yes, no matter who or what they are, we model ourselves on the people and world around, which is perhaps a slightly scary thought loaded with responsibility. Thank you for commenting. :)

  3. This is so vivid, not just a photographic image. It’s even better than IMAX 3d. You bring the reader there, on the streets. Great piece of writing.

  4. I loved the image of the men with disinterested faces who nonetheless saw everything. You need a “women” here -“There were woman”, but that’s minor. I really really enjoyed this portrait, especially the way it is not at all judgmental of the kid and his life.

    1. I make all kinds of mistakes like that, please feel to point them out! I like to make a portrait like a photographic image and leave the reader to judge or form an opinion. Thanks for visiting. :)

I'd love to know what you think, concrit is especially welcomed on fiction pieces. Thank you.

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