Thursday, 15 December 2016

Second Hand Trauma

‘Y’alright lad?’

‘Yeah, sound. Just ate at me grandparents’, like.’


‘And you know how me grandad isn’t me blood grandad? You did know that? He married me nan before I was born.’


‘He’s covered in scars all over his body. Proper deep, nasty ones. And he’s never talked to any of us about how he got them...’

My ears pricked up. I let my gaze stray from the words on the page so that I could concentrate on the words being spoken. His companion didn’t seem terribly interested, but I was.

‘So our Paul was there too. You know him. Me cousin. He was at Bec’s party that time, remember?’


‘And just out of nowhere me grandad tells us the whole story, like. Apparently he got in this accident. This lorry rammed into the side of the car they were in and flipped them right over, it was on fire and that. And me uncle Louis got out and managed to pull me grandad out, but they couldn’t get Janice - that was me grandad’s wife at the time - free, because the whole thing was a ball of flames. And that’s how she died.’

‘Heavy that, lad.’

‘Me grandad got sixty percent burns, like.’


‘He showed us the article in The Echo from thirty years ago. It made the news. Seven people died.’


‘Goes to show. If he can get through that, you can get through anything.’


‘Heavy though, isn’t it?’


I let the story fester. I thought of all the incredible stories which die with the elderly, purely because nobody younger thought to ask.

‘Everton are playing Arsenal tomorrow. Don’t fancy their chances much, do you?’

‘Nah mate, they’ll be crucified.’

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