Timothy Thomas’s Incredible Story
When Timothy Thomas tells the story, his face lights up from within, like a lantern at Hallowe’en, or a house on fire. His eyes narrow as his smile widens, and you’d think that he’d burst open with joy. It’s something to hear, and something to see. It’s what the story does to him. You can see it when he speaks, when his grandfather’s words flow out of him.
He told Amy Grieves and the story made her cry. Later, she said it was something in the tone of his voice that did that to her. Something in the way that he paused before he mentioned the clouds, before he described looking down on them. Amy had stood there, tears glistering her face, wetting her skin, not caring, just listening to Timothy tell his tale.
Megan Goodchild, well, that was another thing entirely. She had become angry, and her nails had raked long furrows in Timothy’s cheek. You can still see the marks when he blushes. when asked later, she would claim that she didn’t know what had ignited her fury in that way, but she remembers that the pause that Timothy had made just before he described looking down on the clouds… looking down like he was god or something, well, Megan still lets loose a string of swift profanity. He was, she said, the first man to provoke her into calling him a cunt.
Timothy didn’t know why the story provoked such odd reactions. It was just something that his grandfather had told him, and he just thought it was a bit funny, a bit interesting. To be honest, he was always vaguely surprised that more people hadnt heard that story anyway. He had been hearing it all his life. The look of clouds from above, a lie found out, and the theft of sixteen miles of barbed wire. It found its own way to his tongue. Nothing new about that at all.
He remembers laughing a lot the first time that he heard it, the first time that he was told. He’d have been young, young enough not to care that he was rolling on the floor laughing so hard that he had to hold on to his sides. The old feel of his grandparents carpet on his back as his t-shirt rode up. These are the things that he is reminded of.
And the story starts like this.