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
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 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
Falling. Have you ever felt the sensation? I have, and I am. My helmet light can only reveal so much. To my left, to my right, above and below me, nothing but darkness and the cool rush of particles as they pass into my one illumination of light. It’s part of my training to remain calm; it’s part of my genetics to remain calm. Continue reading
Forget your name. Throw your ID away. You don’t need the passport either. Convince yourself that you come from nowhere. You were born out of indefinite matter. You don’t remember how you got to this planet. You don’t really know what a planet is, after all. And why we say after all. Or what we mean by all. Continue reading
This is how it goes:
Pee on a stick.
Wait anxiously for a bit of plastic to tell you if there’s the beginning of a real life human inside your stomach.
If not, try again. Buy double the number of tests and pee on it once every week. Continue reading
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.
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.
‘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.
The train took me alone down south to meet you. You were already there at the station as I stepped onto the platform, and it was almost—but not quite—like I never left. All the force as you hugged me, so I nearly overbalanced with the weight from my backpack, but you anchored my feet to the ground and I knew I was safe.