The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Kerouac’s Ukulele

A boy of about seven or eight waits for his Mom, who is caught in a conversation with a friend in the street. The boy wears a ukulele on a strap over one shoulder, and he strolls a few paces away to strum a bit. His salmon colored t-shirt says: “On the Road.” When the women begin a set of three or four goodbyes, he steps close again, endures having his hair ruffled by Mom’s friend as he presses his lips in a reserved smile. He slings the ukulele onto his back as he and Mom set off as a pair.

A few seconds later, Mom stops again. The boy looks out into the future, down the next block, while Mom lights a cigarette and checks something on her phone, squinting into the present. He reclaims his instrument and patiently goes back to his chords. They’re in no hurry.

He perks up at an approaching roar. He pivots completely, thrilled over a bumble-bee yellow Jeep rumbling by. He hops twice involuntarily, the ukulele accompanying him. Mom takes note, “Ooooh”-ing as well, but she isn’t looking at the car. She’s smiling over her son, then turning her head, exhaling smoke in the direction of the street. She puts her phone in her handbag and they share a glance before resuming their leisurely, quality time.

-Budapest, Hungary.

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” -On the Road. Jack Kerouac.



4 comments on “Kerouac’s Ukulele

  1. Darlene
    July 28, 2020

    So nice to see you here Paige. Another great piece of writing. Hope you are well.

    • Darlene, it’s been years, truly, but I feel delighted to be writing again. 🙂 My cast of characters keep appearing before me (thank the Lord!). 🙂 I hope you are well, my kind friend! -Paige

  2. joannerambling
    July 28, 2020

    Such a lovely tale

  3. Alison and Don
    July 30, 2020

    Oh what a sweet slice of life. I love the details. You captured it perfectly, so evocative I was there.

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This entry was posted on July 28, 2020 by in Hungary, Travel.

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