Jamie, his dad and his grandpa go on a hiking trip and stay in a remote cabin overnight. On the hike, Jamie slips and falls down a cliff, injuring his knees and face. After enduring his grandfather’s insults and abuse all day, Jamie lies awake listening to his father and grandfather argue about the best way to raise a boy. He learns things about his grandfather’s past neither he nor his father ever knew.

The inspiration for this story came from a night I spent in my partner’s family’s summer cabin close to Fredrikstad and the Swedish border. My daughter was asleep in one of the bunk-rooms and I spent the entire evening cringing every time someone’s voice would get louder than a whisper, terrified she’d wake up and give us all a terrible night’s sleep. My partner’s step-father got to talking about his life and his relationship with his father, and later I discovered he’d never really talked about it this way before. I began to wonder what it would have been like if my daughter, now almost two years old, had been a little older and had been lying awake listening to the conversation. I don’t have many memories of my grandparents talking about their lives, their experiences and their parents, and I realised that I’ve missed out on knowing about where I came from because of this.

A child often has so little knowledge of who and where they’ve come from. But much of the riddle of our own existence lies in the lives of others who came before us. I explore this theme in What I’m Made Of. The story is complete at 2000 words.