I was digging a hole. I was about five. I’d gotten bored of digging a hole in the sandpit, and wanted more of a challenge.
After I had been digging for a while, my mother came out of the house to see what I was doing or at least to make sure I hadn’t drowned in the pond.
“What are you doing?” she said, even though she could see what I was doing.
“I’m digging,” I said, making a digging motion with my spade in the air and then following it up with a digging motion in the earth that wasn’t so much a digging motion as actual digging, so that she could see that I was digging and that I could see that she could see that I was digging.
“I can see that,” she said, which she could.
I did another little dig and she didn’t like it and said, “Can you stop that?!”
I looked up at her. She was about twenty feet away at the lip of the shaft I’d dug and she looked quite small up there, and because of the way she was silhouetted against the sky I couldn’t even really make out her face and certainly not the ferocity of her scowl.
Disobeying a tiny faceless mother who was twenty feet or more away was easier than disobeying a huge red-faced mother who was right next to you with her hand poised in the air to administer some sort of smack. So I pretended I couldn’t hear her and carried on digging and hoped soon I’d be deep enough that I really couldn’t hear her and therefore I wouldn’t be doing anything bad like pretending I couldn’t hear her when I could.
It turns out that, due to the acoustics of tunnels and shafts and wells and, presumably, all the other possible types of tubes, I would always be able to hear her. And I always have.
I’m 39 years old now and she’s as loud as ever, even though I’m seven miles down and can no longer see the sky, let alone her faceless face peering down at me, shouting out admonishments into the hole that I dug in her beautiful garden, never letting me forget that I’ve ruined her lawn forever.
She probably wishes I really had drowned in the fish pond by now.
1. Written on September 25th, 2017
2. This is at least the third story on here called “The Hole”
3. And probably the worst