Katrina Smith’s story “Somewhere to be Going” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 3 May 2019.
I have an obsession with birds who leave their young to be fostered by different species, and I have a fifteen year old son. Over the years, he’s given me motivation when I’ve needed it and been my biggest fan. I’ve written him a short story for his birthday nearly every year since he learned to read. Sometimes these are first drafts that go nowhere, but he loves them anyway because, well, I’m his mom and it’s a one-of-a-kind present. Sometimes they do go somewhere interesting, like this one did.
This birthday, I thought about how it won’t be very long at all before he’s heading off into the greater world — exploring his own universe. How I have the pleasure of watching him take parts of the life his dad and I have built, whether that means hobbies or mannerisms we share or a way of looking at and interacting with the world, and put his own spin on it so that these familiar things become something completely new and uniquely his, not ours anymore. And teenagers, well — I’m not saying anything new, but they can go from being the familiar being you love to complete strangers and back again so fast you’ll get whiplash trying to keep up.
Watching him interact with the wider world and grow into himself has been bittersweet in a way I didn’t anticipate. So I wrote him this story, about a boy who leaves a family who loves and the rightness of that, how it’s a natural step all young take when they leave the nest. And because I am who I am, and I love cuckoo birds, spaceships, the old, dangerous stories of fae changelings, and my son, who is about to embark on his own journey into the unknown, it couldn’t hardly be a typical story about coming of age. Instead, it ended up being about a changeling boy who is much loved by his parents, but who follows the natural sounding of instinct and builds a spaceship to explore the stars.
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