Dylan’s given us this first line for our challenge this week:
“One for sorrow, two for mirth.”
Edward could hear the children chanting the nursery rhyme through his bedroom window.
It was accompanied by giggles and the rattling of stones on the pavement as they played hopscotch in the street below.
It was nothing to do with the game they were playing of course, but the rhythm was in keeping with their fun as they hopped on the numbered squares in the chalked grid.
His mind drifted to the time when he was a boy.
There were five of them in his gang and they went everywhere together, picnics in makeshift tents in the garden, sugar sandwiches and bottles of pop kind of thing.
Then a year or so later they had new neighbours and The Twins wanted to join their happy little quintet. No-one seemed to have any objections, but The Twins proved to be greedy and cruel bullies, daring and double daring Edward and his friends which got them into trouble. None of them had the nerve to stand up to them and things changed.
Billy was the eldest and Edward’s best mate, and it was he who found the magpie dying in the ditch. Edward wanted to take it home and see if his Dad could save it, but before he could get there to pick it up, Billy had stamped on its head to ‘put it out of its misery’ whilst The Twins cheered him on.
Billy’s shoes were a gruesome mess and he developed a fascination for blood and guts. Edward was shocked and his friendship with Billy altered that day.
Pat was the joker. He was the second eldest and good fun to have around.
Joey was Pat’s brother, two years younger than the rest but they let him tag along as both their parents worked and Pat felt responsible. He never recovered from losing Joey when they were all mucking about on the river and he drowned.
Sammy was the animal lover. His pets were always having babies, and the boys would be forever trying to find homes for puppies and kittens. Old Man Williams finally discovered why and had them both neutered, but Sammy had a way with animals, wild or domestic, so it was no surprise when he went off to veterinary college.
Edward himself was a bit of a dreamer, always with his head in the clouds. None of the gang knew it at the time, but he wrote the most amazing poetry for his age, and in later life had some published. He became an established writer which was how he’d made a living, though he used a different pen name and kept his private life just that.
At eighty two, Edward had never married and was the only surviving member of the gang now. He had lost his original friends to war, cancer and suicide.
‘One for sorrow, two for mirth’ fit in so well with his memories of Billy, Pat, Little Joey and Sammy. The Twins were the 6th and seventh members of their group and they too lived up to their place in the nursery rhyme. Both had met a violent end in a bungled jewellery heist in 1962.