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That's a bit odd!

Short Story from the October Waste Stories Workshop

This fictional story was written as part of a Waste Stories writing workshop. The aim was to write a story in 30 minutes based on found objects and waste. Waste Stories is a project that uses the affective power of story-telling to try to change people’s relationships with waste and the resources that end up in the waste stream.


That’s a bit odd, by Heloisa Fyfe


Sometime after my mum passed away we decided to clear the garden of

what my dad would call ‘unacceptable kitsch and bad taste’. A bit harsh, but

he’s got a point. My mum had all these animal sculptures and a garden

gnome placed neatly around the garden. You wouldn’t think much of these

things but they meant a lot to her. She purposefully used them as a symbolic

rejection of her past. You see, my mum didn’t like her life growing up, whether

it was her two parents, the six girls who bullied her at school, or the twelve

mean chickens on her grandma’s farm that would chase her and peck her

legs. It wasn’t just that. When she turned eighteen she accidentally dropped a

knife and lost a toe, only leaving her with four on one foot. Of the eight

boyfriends she’d had, six broke up with her, one died and with the last one

she got married. So how is this related to the garden kitsch? Well, once my

mum turned twenty-three and had moved out of her family home she made a

decision to live her life in complete opposition to when she was younger.

According to her, there was a recurrent pattern in her unhappiness, everything

bad that ever happened to her came in even numbers. Whether it was the

chickens, the boyfriends, or the toes. So she made a point of imposing only

odd numbers to the rest of her life. That, she knew, would make her happy

because at least it was her choice. This is why I’m an only child. My parents

married in 1993, they had me in 1999 and our house is number 27. When we

went to the supermarket we would buy an odd number of products. If we went

to the doctor we had to only have one issue or three, but you could never

have an even number of ailments. It was bad luck, she said. You may call this

superstition but life really had become wonderful for her once she had

banished the even numbers from her past. She was finally free. The garden

was where she spent most of her last days, and all the animal statues had

odd numbers associated with them. She broke the ear off one of the rabbits,

the bird had thirty-one ceramic feathers. There was also a little solar-powered

Ikea fountain, the user manual had this metal binder with twenty-four spirals

so she ripped it out. No need for such a thing in the house, she said. I miss

my mum, now it’s just the two of us, me and my dad. Bad luck.

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