Litro is a print journal which was founded in 2005 with the belief that ‘Fiction should be enduring, not disposable’, because ‘stories transport you’. Goodness knows we all need some escapism from our current, pandemic world. Online, they produce a literary and creative arts platform, posting (alongside reviews, news and criticism) a new essay every Saturday, flash fiction every Friday, and short stories every Tuesday and Sunday. Some of these are designated ‘Editor’s Picks’, which I am delighted to say was the case with Glass in the Park.
The idea for this story came to me on one of the last occasions that I accompanied my youngest son and some of his friends to the play park near our house. They were ten and eleven year-olds at the time, in no need of supervision or attention, I was just there in case of emergency. I should have brought a book.
Instead I observed and remembered, aware that a phase of my life was ending. I thought about all the parks to which I have taken my children over the years, and of the parks in which I grew up. I became very aware of the journeys we all take from childhood to adulthood, the subtle changes in focus and priorities, our growth from tentative toddlerhoods, to overseeing parenthood. I was particularly conscious (given who I had come with) of the cusp between childhood and adolescence. Play equipment in the daytime is populated by the cute and innocent, but it carries the ghosts of pubescent courtships in its graffiti and detritus. Members of both of these groups of inhabitants find those in the other group unimportant and almost incomprehensible. And yet so few years separate the little ones whose parents wait at the bottoms of the slides, from the ‘hooligans’ leaving cigarette butts and vandalising benches.
Glass in the Park follows Daisy as she negotiates her way from one group to the other.