Sanja Djerasimovic’s and Amy Byrne’s microstories remind us that the most thoughtful gifts are the ones money can’t buy.
Round, yellow, damaged. Incomplete.
It adorned her hand, her long-fingered, bony hand, hardened from work that she was never supposed to do. A surgeon’s hand it was, she used to say. But life had its way with her, and this hand ended up covered in soil, flour, dough, grime, soot, pig’s blood, not enveloped in a latex glove, performing a delicate separation between life and death.
But it saved my life.
I kissed the hand and took the ring off. She wanted me to have it and I wanted to wear it. I wanted its yellow, outmoded, outdated, horribly unfashionable form to adorn my hand. To give me her strength. With its pale pink stone, and an empty space from which the other one had fallen out, irreplaceably.
She smiled. “It fits you perfectly.”
A love letter to a wooden train
The long, curved wheel soared up from the floor. Nestled within the pale green carpet, the caramel wooden train stands proud. There is a small chain at the front, with a little red handle carefully attached so that I could pull the train around the room. In circles, in lines, in dizzy patterns.
My grandfather had carved lines along the main body of the train to give the effect of motion and movement. A nippy train. A slim funnel rises from the front where steam would puff up from my imagination. Beneath that is a wooden box where I would imagine a little wooden man driving the train, steering it into far away lands.
I can picture my grandfather’s careful hands and brown overalls as he stands at his lathe in the rickety shed in that narrow garden in Liverpool. Slowly turning the wood, stopping the lathe at just right moment, etching in little details. And later, sanding and varnishing the wood until it was so smooth that you could glide your hand over the funnel, down the main body of the train and along the smooth arced wheels.
Sanja Djerasimovic is a Serbian living in London, studying society and learning about life. In her spare time, she is trying to (re)construct hers.
Amy Byrne lives in London and is on a never-ending hunt for new books, Scandinavian restaurants and apple-based cakes.
Photo credit: hairyeggg