Planet excerpts

A series of pieces responding to the Wales Coast Path

This short story is narrated by the Welsh-Japanese character Yori, who first appeared in ‘Roof’, published by Planet in 2011. Yori is also the narrator in Desire Line, Gee Williams’ latest novel, published by Parthian Books. ‘Planted’ is likely to represent Yori’s final appearance.

More excerpts from Planet 221  



Nothing lasts. But why open your hands?

For a century a fair stood here – or more of a pleasure ground at first. Flowers and exotic shrubs, an aviary, bandstand and mini ‘Swiss-style Cascade’. Rowing boats on a new expanse of water. Then came The Chute, one of the earliest rides: an open car full of screaming trippers would accelerate down rails into the grey pool that, back in 1895, was the finest Marine Lake in England or Wales. Nearly thirty acres! And deep enough to drown one of those pioneering Rhyl thrill-seekers, our first though not our last death by delight. I walk the lake path every day. Now the flower beds are bramble and the funfair’s a flattened waste the site offers uninterrupted views of a huge sky… which this February morning is quilted with snow-cloud. Superb, though obviously not to everyone’s taste, I expect to have it to myself and do. But you never know. The start of last winter (why?) there were a couple of drinkers, men looking seventy but probably younger… they set up camp in the shelter of the hawthorn. A length of plastic sheet was acquired to roof out the worst the Irish Sea could throw at them. Usually the driftwood fire would be well-ablaze by the time I was passing, nameless meats being seared. Both men had identical sunken cheeks, scrawny necks and cheerless eyes, though the layout of other features didn’t suggest kinship. A week or so and we were on nodding terms. Eventually I’d smile at their homemade sign in Helvetica self-adhesive metallics: PRIVATE SPACE SO FUCK OFF. At Christmas, with sleet blown from the east and straight into their faces, one of them grinned and said, ‘Me, I’d have stuck in China, mate.’ The other snorted out beer. Yet it seemed not unkind so I didn’t come back with, ‘Japan, you mean? Thirteen thousand kilometres in distance?’

Inaccurate either way – why bother to correct?
I was born here.
Rhyl, you mean? I could’ve said.
It was our final meet. Frost or some authority saw them off. Perhaps it was the sign.

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