All the stories

I pass a group of boys most days on my way to work. To be more precise, they over take me. Little boys in oversized school uniforms, on their way to the massive comp on the other side of the estate. Four of them. Three have bikes, and one doesn’t.

In March it was always the same: one would cycle at walking pace next to the boy-without-a-bike, while the other two would cycle ahead, cycle back, cycle ahead, cycle back. Never going too far, always coming back.

In April they shot by me, three bikes in parallel and the boy-without-a-bike perched on the handlebars of the middle bike. At the shortcut through the zig-zag gates to the park they stopped, tipped him off and walked the bikes through, then resumed formation.

This month they sail past me and keep formation as they take the zig-zag gates at speed, four boys on three bikes narrowly avoiding death by railing puncture. They cycle away through the park, blazers flapping.

Little stories are all around us in life. We exist and stories surround us. Noone lives as simply background to other people’s stories. The people you pass on the street are playing out their own stories, just as you are living out yours. The stories that surround us are infinite.

Plays are the same, surely. There is the story we all know that the play is about. And there are all the other stories that it is made of. No character or part of it is ‘background’ or ‘scene-setting’. They are all living out their stories – they don’t know the play is called ‘Macbeth’ and not ‘Son of Macduff’, after all.

A dude kills a dude and then worries other dudes might kill him. Yes, and? The dude knows a dude who might be suspicious. Yes, and? The suspicious dude leaves his wife and kids and goes away. Yes, and? The original dude decided to kill the suspicious dude’s family. Yes, and? The suspicious dude’s wife tells her son his dad is dead. Yes, and? The suspicious dude’s son asks if his dad was a traitor.

Good. What’s that story? What’s going on there? Not in a how does this serve the greater story and the overarching theme? sort of way. Not in a how does this reflect on our main protagonist? sort of way. In a what’s going on here? sort of way. People are talking and doing things to each other. Why?

What’s that story?

There might be a theme. Sure. There might be a concept. Fine. There might be an issue. Ok. But there might be stories too.

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