Saturday 10 March 2018


Reader Jel shares her gorgeous coming-of-age short story 'FREEDOM'... take a look!

They told me I could be whatever I wanted to be. My eight year old eyes and a toothy smile, looked up into a cosmic sky that stretched from the heavens to the earth. A sky the colour of breath mints written of promise and hope. I choose to be a bird. The most majestic animal that rules over the sky, soaring above craters and valleys, looking down onto children with big dreams and big eyes like me. 

Theres this old oak tree in the park. It sits by itself amongst primary coloured swings and slides- Sickly fluorescent red, blue and lemon. Hyperactive children running, skipping, jumping whilst their mothers try to keep up, like they are wild dogs without leashes. The tree waits patiently for someone to look past its tawny stump and uncover its brilliance. This tree has special powers. I am sure of this. It's not just a  stump with branches and foliage- it's every twig and crevasse and scrape. It's the way its skinny branches have never let me down. It's the way I feel comfortable. Safe.

I grip onto each branch and pull my weight up so effortlessly like the tree is lending me a helping hand. My legs rock back and forth up, up and away until my body is hoisted from the ground. I swing comfortably in the midst of nothing but cool air and buttery warmth. Nothing but a tender wind tickling the soles of my feet. Sunlight kissing my eyelids.  From up here, I am untouchable. The wind converses with me and I whistle back like it is an old friend. Once I swing high enough, I am no longer two walking limbs. I have wings that allow me to feel the depth of the sky and this place around me. I belong in these wide open spaces of azure and cobalt blue and when the sun had set, I soar over strips of tangerine and blushing pink. Up here, I am a bird with the most intimate connection with the sky; ‘a geographic monogamy’. Freedom.

Summers roll by and years escape through my fingertips. A black starless sky that seems to stretch on forever. My wings that were once so beautiful and bountiful are now pinned down. They told me I could be whatever I wanted to be but my sixteen year old eyes don't see the sky the way they used to. They told me I could  be whatever I wanted to be, but how is this possible when I used to be able to fly and now that seems so out of reach. When I was younger I used to believe in that type of stuff. Stuff like magic and having the freedom to do whatever I wanted without any  worries at all. It was a poignant memory; a loss of innocence. Like they had suddenly switched on the lights- a bright awakening.

They say time changes the ways we used to feel and the connections we used to have to places and I guess thats true. For four years I haven't had the same sense of belonging and freedom that I felt swinging across the branches into a  sky the colour of breath mints. For four years I hadn't gone back to the tree that gave me wings.

Instead, I spend my time doing things teenagers are supposed to do. This means no swinging off trees that have super powers. I hang out in my bedroom most of the time. I see Jennifer and Louise at the mall on the weekends. I do my  homework. It's a repeated sequence of eat, sleep, work, socialise. To be quite honest, I feel trapped in a recycled schedule. There's no way out. There's walls built around my eyes stopping me from being able to see what else is out there. Most of the time I feel like an alienated soul isolated from any hopes of freedom to do what I really want to do. To go back to the tree where I belong, into the sky with wings that gave me the allowance to really be free.

Occasionally though, I peer out of of my bedroom window into a great big mysterious sky. It's a canvas filled with fiery wisps of colours  painted on like some sort of child’s artwork. This time, I look out into a sky the same way my eight year old eyes remembered it to be. I reminisce. I am nostalgic. This time I feel something.


Cathy says:

Wow. Beautiful words from Jel. Freedom comes when we accept change in our lives... and that's OK! How did YOU respond to this lovely piece? COMMENT BELOW with your thoughts!


  1. This was so beautifully written and so, so relatable! I'd love to read more from Jel. I guess you could say I'm...JEL-ous of their skill for creative writing. No? Sorry. That was a really bad joke. But this is really good, very descriptive. The sky is dark, starless and illuminated by streetlights here but, looking out my window, I can see the child's canvas that Jel so vividly described. That's good writing.

    1. Totally agree... Jel sent her story in via email, so don't think she has FB, but this gave me shivers! I am so proud of you, Katie, Jel and the others who contribute such high quality fiction for DREAMCATCHER! xxx

  2. I love this! Everything's described so vividly, and it's got such a sad and relatable ending... brilliant story.

  3. This is soooo relatable. Being a teen and being a child are completely different things and this is sooo nostalgic. I love this piece so much!



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