Flash Fiction: Coming of Age

By: S.B. Borgersen

My sisters give me silken scarves the colours of the setting sun; scarlet, orange, and violet. My mother gives me her well fingered lute so that music will be my companion. Father has crafted me a vessel in clay to carry water, he presents it to me in his strong outstretched arms. Grandfather offers me a muslin-wrapped cheese from his amber-eyed goat. 

My grandmother, scooping her long white hair, tying it behind her head in ribbons the colour of the evening sky, gives me her wisdom: “this is a journey you must complete alone. You must not seek help from another, or your destination will not be yours and yours alone.” 

We smile, and kiss, and wave. But, as I depart on my yellow tuktuk, I feel their sadness and know of their muted wailings and silent pleadings through the throaty sputtering of the tuktuk’s motor. 

In spite of all of this, in my belly, I swell with joy; filled with anticipation to be heading out alone into the world. My destination is the sea beyond the distant blue mountains. From there the boat with the plum-red sails will be waiting. Only a boat, no boatman or boat woman, as I suppose you have surmised. This boat, made from wood, I will sail myself and circumnavigate my own world. I must find the fresh beginnings that my grandmother promised would be there, in her words, “you will only find them if you seek them.” This I understand to be the new life that only exists for me as I turn from a girl to a woman. That no other person would see it as such. A unique life for each and every one of us. 

 After many sunrises and sunsets, my tuktuk splutters, coughs and will not be coaxed to move. I use all my knowledge and tools to restore the motor, to no avail. I must now decide: stay and wait for another traveller to discover my plight and help me on my way? Or continue, on this journey that is just for me, on foot? 

The sun dips behind the mountains, casting shadows as long as monkeys’ tails between the reeds. Sipping from my father's clay vessel, I taste the cool liquid’s purity of life and certainty. A morsel of Grandfather’s salty cheese on my tongue gives me strength. I wind my sisters’ scarves around my body for protection.  

I pick up my mother’s lute and sing the song of my ancestors:

‘the walk will be long but my feet are young
my eyes are tired but the view is sweet
my bed is hard but my limbs now float
my voice is soft but I know you can hear’

From the distant hills comes a response:

‘I hear you daughter, granddaughter, sister
close your tired eyes and sleep
drift with your dreams and you will sail
away to your destination.’ 

Bio- S.B. Borgersen 

Once described in the writing world as a ‘third space inhabitant’, S.B. Borgersen, originally from England, writes and makes art on the shores of Nova Scotia, Canada. 

Sue’s favoured genres are poetry, short, and micro fiction. She is published internationally in anthologies, arts and literary magazines, in print and online. She’s currently re-working her thirteenth NaNoWriMo novel. 

S.B. Borgersen is a long-standing member of The Nova Scotia Writers’ Federation, a keen member of the expat writers’ group Writers Abroad, and a founding member of The Liverpool Literary Society. Sue judged the Atlantic Writing Competition (Poetry) 2016 and Hysteria (Poetry) 2017. 



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