Creative Non-Fiction is a course I am currently doing at City Lit here in London. Every week we get homework, which I will publish here. Hope you enjoy!
Close your eyes and think of the first house or flat you remember living in. For two or three minutes walk round it in your mind visiting every room you can remember, recalling how each was furnished. Now open your eyes and write for 10 minutes telling the story of an incident that you remember happening in that dwelling.
I remember the day we brought my brother home. Well, at least I think I do. The following stories have been retold so often and are so well documented that I can conjure them up out of thin air, if not from memory.
So the day Jona came home to our semi-detached house in Casal Palocco, Rome, I was convinced his sole purpose was to be my new playmate, and was disappointed that he just lay in his cot wiggling his toes and drooling.
“Here’s your new baby brother,” my mother said from behind me.
My father was down in the garden, planting a palm tree to commemorate the event.
“Hello Jona. Jonaaaaaa” I repeated until he gave me a toothless smile.
He’s pretty boring, I remember thinking. A troublemaker from the start nonetheless. We both watched as he kicked his socks off.
“What should we do with him, Jessy?”
“Throw him back in the tummy” I replied, completely serious.
My mum laughed. It has become a family anecdote. How funny. How adorable.
I didn’t understand the laughter at the time. Send him back where he came from if he couldn’t behave. It made perfect sense to me. Hadn’t he come from mummy’s tummy? That’s what they had said.
The image jumps as if a slide has been changed. Jona is older. We are both sat at the dining table, colouring. We have matching pyjamas with a monkey motif on them. Mine are green, his are red. I am being bossy as usual, coming across as a know-it-all for the camera.
“What are you drawing, Jessica?” my Dad asks. He is making a video for my grandparents, who live half the world away.
“I’m colouring in a horse” I reply. “Jona is not colouring in the lines! He’s a baby, doing it all wrong!”
Jonatan is oblivious to my angst. He happily scribbles over the page, and looks up at the camera with a goofy grin.
“What are you doing, Jona? Show Oma and Opa”
He picks up his book and turns it towards the camera.
“Look at mine!” I say, hurt to be left out.
The scene cuts to black, with the image of both our faces smiling at the camera fading as fast as they came.