Posts tagged lion tamer
Posts tagged lion tamer
He got the nickname when he was about seven years old.
One of Tommy’s favourite things to do was stand outside the corner shop and whistle. He would pick a song and then whistle it, over and over again until the shopkeeper came out and told him to get lost. So he’d go to another shop, and do it again. He loved seeing the look on people’s faces. Some would smile and some would shake their heads. Sometimes - not very often - someone would join in. It was harmless, but something that got underneath everyone’s skin for better or worse. They would see his mother and say “your Tommy Tinwhistle’s at it again!” And his mother would sigh and give a half smile. What could she do?
She bought Tommy a kitten for Christmas. She thought that if he spent more time with the animal, then he would stop the whistling. And at first it worked - Tommy spent all his free time with his kitten, Tinker, and the two of them were quite inseparable. Tommy and Tinker. Tinker and Tommy. Tinker would follow his owner to the gate when he left for school, and still be waiting there when he returned. The playful kitten grew into a beautiful cat, a streak of white breaking his sleek coat, a coat as black as Tommy’s unruly hair. Cat and companion would sit poring over books, and occasionally they would walk together through the small streets. People that saw them claimed Tommy spoke to the cat, and his mother just dismissed it. He had never made friends that easily, so she was happy that Tinker was there. Things were hard as it was.
Tommy hadn’t whistled for years, not like he used to. His nickname had faded like writing on fogged glass. The only time he did was to call Tinker, a low whistle that the cat responded to quicker than was natural.
It was raining, and the car that hit Tinker was driving too fast. Tommy found him in the road two days after his fourteenth birthday. He buried what was left of him in the back garden, in the rain, under the apple tree. Tommy waited until it got dark, and the put on his overcoat and walked out into the rain. Someone said they saw him in the glow of a streetlight with a black cat by his feet. They were whispering to each other, this someone said.
Every so often, Tommy’s mother thinks she can hear whistling. The song “My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean” is one of the more frequent ones. It’s been three years now.