Wednesday Stories: Persimmons


You know what they say right? Once a year the gates open up, for a slice of a second and there you have the chance to cross over and talk to whoever you need to talk to. But you only have an hour, that was all you had. Who knows what happens after that hour. Stories have it that your flesh disintegrates, and your soul remains, that is if you have one. Some people do not.

Maya had often, in her dreams, saw her nanna calling out to her as if she had a message for her and she yearned, badly, to hear that message. Nanna was often inaudible in her dreams and so Maya set on a journey to find this gate she had once heard of but she found it, and when the time of the prediction came she hopped on the train, with a basket of persimmons, nanna’s favourite fruit, and followed the instructions of the Seer Mr. Galloway closely. She walked nine steps from the last car of the train and turned right. There, as she was told, she found a pillar. She knocked on it three times and sang the song of life loudly as she waited. After she had sung the chorus about three times the face of a little man appeared behind a tile and she heard a click. She pulled open the wall and stepped in.

There was a line. And it was a long line, and because the gate was only opened for a slice of a second there was a lot of bickering as to who would be at the front of the line. The gate though was huge and so as the face of the clock above them in that waiting room ticked on they crowded across the width of the gate in anticipation. Maya had told nanna she would be there, so as not to waste the hour she had, she told her nanna, in her dreams to wait for her by the gate. She hoped that nanna would hear her.

Darkness loomed and as the cuckoo crept out of the clock a man, as fat as he was tall dragged himself towards the gate and opened it. The streams of people ran past him and Maya crept through and waited by the gate with her basket of persimmons, anxious. It was the first time she had crossed over and it was a rather strange feeling. The place was cold, dark, foggy and shadows crept about her. The shadows were said to be those that only had half a soul. They had sold the other half, and so they loom about unable to resume life on the other side. She looked nervously around as they flutter about her and the longest minute seemed to have passed, she was almost resigned to the fact that nanna did not hear her, or want to see her.

She sighed as she squeezed the handles of the basket. Cold sweat broke, and she felt a sort of terror at the fact that she had to wait for another good 50 minutes. The shadows had begun to thicken around her, hissing. Reaching out for the persimmons hopelessly, as their unformed fingers melt around the fruits. They sighed as they fluttered.

She thought of how sending a message to nanna through these shadows, and so she attempted to speak but before she could, the man who was as fat as he was tall growled at her. She looked up and realised he was still there, so she asked if she could leave him the message. He shook his head.

It was at least about another fifteen minutes before the graceful old lady came walking down the road. Darling, she called out, I am so sorry I missed the bus! She turned and in the greatest relief broke into tears.

Good grief, you are shivering dear child. Maya laughed as she cried and shook. She handed the basket of persimmons to her nanna who took them and told her. Now next time, you walk right down this street, take a left, and jump onto the bus that would be waiting. Get off at Steiner Ave and look for number 33. That is me, ok?

Maya nodded. Next time.

Next time Maya was braver.

And then there begun a whole series of conversations between Maya, and her dead nanna over persimmon schnapps and ginger biscuits.