I think England is a magical place. After reading authors like JK Rowling and Neil Gaiman, I want to walk around the cobbled streets and placid country lanes where anything might happen to me. Excitement and fun accompany the misty fog filled air where I will bump into a character that takes me to another world completely.
Maybe, it is the Tolkien reader in me, but I am thankful Neil Gaiman continues the “other world” writing tradition. His latest book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, is a novella that hints at another world and another sequel. Here is my interpretation of our no-named hero as he looks back in time to when it all began.
Forty years ago a South African living in my room in Sussex, England, committed suicide in my father’s mini car. I was seven when it happen. I actually found him before any adult. I was out early that morning looking for my new kitten, Fluffy.
The South African had ran over my first cat and he replaced it with my now missing Fluffy. I liked the man. He was an opal miner in his native country and when he first moved in he gave my sister and I a couple of opals. Now his face all red and his lips blue, I knew he would never give us anything else.
As the police arrived, I was moved to the other side of the road. I could have easily walked back home, but father thought it better if I stay with someone instead of being alone. That was when I met Lettie Hempstock. She got permission from my dad and we walked to the end of the lane where her farmhouse stood.
I was ushered in by her grandmother, Old Mrs. Hempstock, who made me eggs and toast. The warmth of the hearth filled my heart. I was in a safe place with a new friend. I also found my Fluffy who curled up on my lap and slept while I ate. Life was good.
After breakfast, Lettie suggested we go out to the ocean. Now, looking back, I knew the ocean was a far piece and we would have a while before we reached it, but I kept quiet. I kept quiet about a lot of things back then. Lettie was 11 years old and knew more than me, so I figured she might have a short cut.
When we walked to the back of the farm behind the barn and over the pasture, we faced Lettie’s ocean. It was a duck pond and I had a feeling she was either teasing me or silly herself. I smiled as she said that her mother and grandmother traveled this ocean from the old country.Back at the farmhouse, Mrs. Hempstock asked Lettie about our adventure. She said she showed be the ocean then asked her mother why they could not return to the old country. Mrs. Hempstock said because it sunk then Old Mrs. Hempstock said she remembered it wrong. The old country blew up.