What I Never Said

I find it strange that you still live there, in the house your mother told us not to buy because the roof was falling in and the sink crawled with cockroaches. I remember the look on your face as you disobeyed her for the first time, a mix of exhilaration and fear. You put your half of the deposit down the next day and I did the same, even though it left me with $40 to my name. We were childhood sweethearts, and we thought this was us growing up. A week later, you moved your belongings out of your mother’s house and wouldn’t see her again for a year. I sent her a letter every month to let her know you were okay. Sometimes it was a lie. Besides, she never wrote back. She blamed me. Continue reading

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The Day Before

My brother died on a Saturday. That morning we’d left him and my sister to mind the shop while Mutti took me on her errands. In the summer of 1939 she’d only just started working as a seamstress of sorts. Letting out waistbands, taking in waistbands, changing the neckline of a dress to make it look entirely new – odd jobs that were quick but required an experienced hand to get those neat, parallel stitches. It was all the fault of the church coffee ladies. Mutti had taken over the social club at the start of the year, and the minute those crow-eyed omas got their claws on her embroidered napkins, her fate was sealed. Continue reading

The Heroine of Anwae

The wind lashed the banners. Moaning, it swept past the soldiers leaving their arms and legs shaking. Most of them looked out across the plain, heads close to their spears, fingers clutching the edges of their shields. Even though the light of the stars and the moon was cut away by the clouds, they knew exactly what lay on the other side of the expanse. Others were leaning over, propping up their helmets with free hands. Puke punctured the air. Continue reading

First Impressions

He’s sitting at the bar, sipping a Porn Star Martini, my usual drink of choice. Today, I’ve opted for a Strawberry Daiquiri, to give me a feminine vibe. If he was swigging a pint of beer, I’d know he was straight. The cocktail offers just enough doubt that I stay in my seat to do my detective work. My table is near the door and I’ve pushed my chair far enough back that the spotlight above me illuminates my knees onwards. If we were on the beach, I’d wear sunglasses, but here I’m taking advantage of the darkness to provide cover. His dark brown hair is lightly gelled into a quiff reminiscent of a 2000’s pop star and he swirls his glass for some time before each sip. He’s wearing a Ted Baker charcoal blazer with matching straight leg trousers and burgundy boat shoes. He must work in the City, probably at a hipster marketing firm where no one wears socks.

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Pale Pink Pyjamas

Six am struck and Joan opened her eyes, bracing the sense of despair that had been clouding over her for weeks; weeks that had at some point turned into months. As she pulled back the duvet, those months of sweat, tears, and the occasional (daily) bottle of white wine that had ingrained onto her sister’s pale pink pyjamas fumigated the room. Joan stumbled out of bed, her head beating its constant pounding rhythm that told her you lived, you lived, you lived.

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Broken Dreams, Broken Bodies

‘Tell me what you want me to do?!’ He screamed, holding his head. ‘I can’t read your mind Clara.’ My lips, dry, cracked. Thirsty. They want to tell him. But they don’t know what to say. My tongue, hides in the comfort of my mouth. It’s scared it will say the wrong things. Tangle and twist the truth. Spread its venom like a snake. For its vicious bite will be the end of this. This. Fragile, fucked up shit show we are still calling a marriage.

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