Hidden Treasure

30 Apr

Hidden Treasure

There was always a sweetie or a tanner to be found down the side of grandpa’s chair. I’d stick one hand down between the arm and the cushion, while my other hand snuggled behind grandpa’s back. He’d read me stories: The Magic FarAway Tree, Peter Rabbit, or if I promised not to cry — The Little Matchgirl. I’d bring my hand up slowly from between the squigginess and look at my treasure slyly —unwrapping the sweet or squeezing the tanner in my hand, not letting go until I got home. Squeezing so tight that sometimes I could see the faint imprint of the Queen’s head on my palm.

I wonder now, although it never occurred to me at the time, if my grandpa restocked the treasure trove deliberately. If the sweets didn’t just fall out of his trouser pockets, but were placed carefully knowing that I wouldn’t be able to resist.

I was about ten the last time I sat there. I didn’t see why I had to visit him when it was such a lovely day outside and all my friends were going to the park. I was in a mood, stomping and sighing about his little flat, practising being a teenager. I can’t imagine how much I must have hurt him. All grown up in the space of a week. No longer in need of him and his cuddles.

I would cuddle him now if he were here. Hold him tight with both arms. Instead I sit in his chair try to persuade my husband that it shouldn’t go in the skip, but come back to our house, have pride of place there. He shakes his head and I know he’s right. The fabric is faded and worn from a million hours. The stuffing long flattened and damp. There are tiny burn marks on the arms where ash would fall from his cigarette and it creaks when you move. I sit in his chair. And my husband lets me. I sit in his chair and my now-grown fingers feel their way down the side, passed the crumbs and the stoor and I grope for the treasure that I lost there.

See the photo that inspired this writing at http://www.creativewritingink.co.uk/resources/writing-prompts/

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