I have this coat I wear. It’s heavy. Pulling me down.
Holding it close I wander. Past the towns I once knew. Size fives grow to tens.
The walls that heard everything.
And the people that reflected my whole soul.
The silly games we shared. The pockets we filled. The meals, the shoulders, the hands held tight.
The air after I left tasted sweeter. Full of opportunity that I lapped up.
My coat grew lighter and I held my arms out as I flew. Pulling and grabbing everything.
Head spinning with the new world I spun.
Returning hurts. The air still. Bitter. Tasting of sour pillowcases and snapping sweets in half.
I feel dense. Pockets too heavy for this old life.
Where all time stands still except mine.
Thanks for reading! This piece was inspired by a writing trip I went on with The Writing Squad. We explored the idea of gentrification in London. I wrote this piece back in November last year but so much has happened since then – I got a new job in a new industry and so I just haven’t had time to come back to this blog.
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3 thoughts on “My Coat – quick short story”
For me, I read the story as a struggling person who discovered liberation upon leaving an old life to exploring a new one. However, the story comes full circle when that person returns to experience the same heaviness that prompted them to leave. I’m unsure if I missed the point entirely but I identified strongly with what I believed your short story was about. Well written and I’m a fan of your work!
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Thanks for the thoughtful response and glad you enjoyed and identified with this piece. The beauty of writing (and the part I love) is that anyone can interpret it in their own way and put their own experience into it. I’m very happy to see it evoked this reaction and thank you for your comments!
I wrote this whilst wandering around a run-down part of London, which was in the process of gentrification. I wanted to explore the feeling of leaving poverty and then returning to it to see that nothing has changed and there’s almost a feeling of guilt, that even though you’ve seen a better world, you haven’t been able to change the one you came from.
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I see. The way you translated that experience into an artistic piece of prose was beautifully done. This is actually my first encounter with the term, “gentrification,” (I actually had to Google it) and it is an interesting concept. Is it something unique to contemporary times?