An ‘oar’ some adventure (short story)

The children were dizzy with excitement. Their mother had just informed them they were going on an adventure. It was the middle of the school holidays and they had almost had their fill of computer games, visits to their father’s house and playing in the park. Mum’s surprise trip was perfectly timed and they couldn’t wait to find out more.

“Come down to the kitchen and I’ll tell you what’s in store for us” shouted mum.

So all three raced down the stairs coming to a halt just in front of their mother who was leaning against the dining table with a big grin on her face. She knew it would be an interesting break for them, particularly as they rarely travelled in anything other than the family car or the school bus. She realised it would be exhausting for her, watching 3 young children in a strange environment, but they were good kids and she wanted to give them a real treat. Her main concern was how to herd them safely on and off the ferry, but before she could get too worried her thoughts were interrupted by her eldest, Tom, aged 12.

“Come on mum, spill the beans then,” he said. Their mother paused for dramatic effect before announcing.
“We’re going to Bruges.”
“Where’s that?” said 9 year old Hannah.
“It’s in Belgium.” Said their mum. “We’ll be leaving the car behind and travelling by bus, train and boat. Won’t that be fun?”
“When are we going?” asked Tom.
“Tomorrow” replied his mum, “so we haven’t got much time, you’d better go and pack your rucksacks. We’ll be away for 3 nights. Tom, you help Ollie to pack his bag and make sure you all put in your waterproofs.”

During the next few minutes, Tom and Hannah directed a volley of questions at their mum. Throughout their conversation, Ollie, who at 5, was the youngest of the trio, had remained silent, and completely absorbed. Looking from his siblings to his mum and back as the discussion continued. After several minutes Tom and Hannah had enough information and were ready for action, dashing past him out of the kitchen and up the stairs. He too, turned to go, although at a more leisurely pace with a slightly bemused look on his face. You could almost hear the cogs whirring as he tried to process all he’d just heard.

Their mother made a cup of tea before heading after her children only to bump into her rather worried looking youngest child loitering on the first step.
“What’s the matter Oliver?” asked his mother, “Aren’t you excited to be going on our adventure?”
“Oh yes” he said. “Mummy, I was just wondering. You know you said we’ll be going on a boat.”
“Yes Ollie.”
“Will we have our own oars?”

© Jacky Leonard

Authors Notes

This is based on a real life ‘adventure’ that a friend took with her children.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget how different our terms of reference can be to others, particularly children.

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