Mum had a habit of eating the entirety of an apple. The peel, the fruit, the core; all the apple would disappear. The first time I saw her leave an apple core unchallenged, Henry had made a comment, a jibe trying to be a joke that didn’t quite pay off. Henry was always doing that – trying to challenge my mother, to unsettle her. But in his passive aggressive cunning, he didn’t notice the way her eyes glazed over, and how, like hitting restart on a computer, she’d shut down for a short time before putting her face of normality back on and delivering a similarly sharp retort that snapped his neck to the ground with embarrassment. Mum was always doing that – trying to put him in his place, pushing him out of our circle.
“He’s got to leave the cabin soon. Right?” asked Casper. He glanced uneasily at the door to the captain’s cabin and shivered. The rest of the crew was keeping a careful distance from it – and the guest within. “Surely he’s got to come and help us at some point?” The two men leaned on the railing of the ship, facing the field of ice … Continue reading Breaker
I stand in the corner of the room with my mum, polystyrene cups in hand, and five minutes late. When we got here we situated ourselves in the corner, hoping to ignore the loud and enthusiastic chatter between parents, children, and tutors. But other than participating there’s not much to do but watch, so I do; listening as people talk openly about their writing, or … Continue reading Selling Myself
The little black line keeps winking at me. One. Two. One. Two. It’s annoyingly slow, like I’d expect it to be quicker, more impatient, more demanding. I’d expect it to match my current anxiety. Instead it takes its time. One. Two. One. Two. Calculating. Menacing. What is it even called? I google it. “what is that annoying black line on the word document called?”. “T … Continue reading Writer’s Block
Alice stumbled across the rocks, stepping on the dry stone and slipping on the wet green seaweed freshly soaked with sea water. The sharp edges dug into the balls of her feet, her flip flops a distant memory away on the sand with her friends. Ten minutes ago, she was lying next to them (the flip flops and the friends), hat placed over her closed … Continue reading The View From The Rocks
I’m sitting here, wondering, is there still an us. Will there be, an us? Or, was there never an us to save. Nothing left but pieces. The polaroid pictures strung like bunting in my bedroom, couldn’t you have ripped the rope and dragged it out, like you did with your things? It only took a single touch and I, unravelled. I wasn’t wound tight enough, besides, the knot is always tighter when you’re not the one tying it.
The sun had been exposed all day, uninterrupted by clouds, and now rested in the looming veil of evening like a lightbulb behind a curtain. The hall was the largest room in David and Lily’s house. It overlooked an abstract cauldron of water and mountain too vast to comprehend, and the guests nested by the huge windows, admiring this sight. Continue reading “The Party”
For as long as anyone could remember, Shannon Fowler had wanted to be a Mother. Even as a toddler, long before her parents even contemplated having to give her the “birds and bees” talk, little Shannon Fowler could often be glimpsed in her families garden, pushing a gaudy pink pram around the perimeter and cooing to her teddy bear within as though it were her own flesh and blood. Indeed, this phase of playing with dolls as though they were babies was something that Shannon did not grow out of until she turned thirteen and even then, the decision to relinquish this once-endearing display Continue reading “This Will Put You Off Having Children”
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 “What I Never Said”
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 Day Before”