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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Twitter story - JAMAL

Jamal was four years old when it happened and though he sees it in his dreams, he knows that he doesn’t see what really happened but what he read in the newspapers and saw on the TV long after it was over.

So he has this un-memory superimposed over the reality of it – the things that he remembers. The real things. He remembers the noise, the big unbearably loud bang. He remembers the car slowing and zig-zagging down the road, making him feel sick. He remembers a man – he to this day he doesn’t know who the man was – reaching in through the broken window and steering the car to a halt. He remembers being trapped in his car seat.

Most of all, he remembers that he never saw his mother again. Or his father.

He remembers being taken to a cold place with other children. They were nice, he thinks he remembers, but he didn’t know them and he wanted his mother. Even his seldom-seen and often-mean father would be better than these strangers.

It isn’t until he is sixteen and spending a lot of time in the computer lab at school that he finds out what happened to him when he was four. At first, he can’t believe it, can’t believe that the young child who witnessed his mother’s murder is him. But there are too many coincidences to be ignored.

So now Jamal must live with not just the memories, but the reality of this story that isn’t really his. He was in the back seat of his father’s car. His mother’s car had broken down so she took the Cadillac. She was driving him to… Where? That’s one thing that doesn’t seem clear in any of the articles. Wherever. Someone (no one knows who or if they do, they aren’t saying) pulled up beside the car and shot his mother three times in the chest. She slumped against the wheel and the car started to zig-zag slowly down the street until a man reached in the broken window and steered them to the curb.

His mother was dead. His father, rich and scary and probably (so the stories go) a drug dealer, allows the Ministry to take Jamal away and put him to live with strangers. He never saw or heard of either of them again.

Nice story, he thinks. He should be able to dine out on that story. But every time he tries, the person laughs and says, you’ve made that up.

Only part of it, Jamal says. Most of it is true.

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