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Beyond the picket fence

not quite as it seems…

Malice

I wake entwined in dampness and cocooned by a foreboding fear. I am curled foetal like on her rug, my blonde matted hair undistinguishable from the faded pearl sheepskin. My fingers work in a rigorous dance, plucking and tearing at the knots though there is no fruit to my labour; time has presented an impossible obstacle. Her scent still lingers, a heady mix of stale breast milk and the sweetness of a newborn. The nursery is dwarfed by its mahogany timber cot, regal and resplendent in rose cotton sheets. A lone teddy reclines on a heart shaped pillow as though awaiting the child it is to protect Continue reading “Malice”

Merriment Markers

I yearned to gaze at her fully and etch her plentiful lips and youthful features into my memory. A glimpse had provided enough detail to piece together the last twelve months. She and I were similar, except there were no creases by her eyes or grooves beside her mouth. Richard had affectionately referred to my wrinkles as merriment markers; yet I hadn’t laughed in years. I tried to relax, attempting to soften my appearance. There was nowhere to hide from my husband’s lover as we sat together at the mediation, separated by not only by a table but also twenty years.

100 word fiction.

 

 

Oscar Loves Kirsty

Kirsty traced a finger over the embroidered floral letters on her pillowcase. She caressed the familiar curves that she had spelled a thousand times. Oscar with an O. She had once sought comfort inside that O, cocooned within its seamless sphere.

Oscar loves Kirsty.

She picked at the L, plucking at its fuchsia thread, tugging until it unraveled. Just as she had. Her nimble fingers then tore at the S until she was satisfied with her handiwork.

Oscar over Kirsty.

Attached to the cosmetic drip

Lipstick is really magical. It holds more than a waxy bit of colour – it holds the promise of a brilliant smile, a brilliant day, both literally and figuratively.’

Roberta Gately, Lipstick in Afghanistan

As the presenter called my name, I inhaled a long, deep breath, attempting to exhale the taunts that I could now expect from my siblings. Unbeknownst to my family and with the urging of peers, I had entered the Bayside Beauty Pageant. I sauntered across the stage, a barely thirteen-year-old endeavoring to hide her terror by emulating the poise of a princess: Diana to be exact. Wearing a shiny fuchsia grin plastered from ear-to-ear and a smudge of coral shimmer on my cheeks, I twirled before I joined the other contestants to wait for the winner’s presentation.

When my name was announced in the final three, it seemed that my participation in the pageant would no longer remain a secret. With that sash and tiara, I had just learned of the social advantage that beauty could offer, and how makeup could only increase my position. Continue reading “Attached to the cosmetic drip”

Touched by the road toll

A friend’s son died in a car crash last night. An eighteen-year-old boy who had only finished his high school exams days before. It is with a heavy heart that I share this post that I wrote about the death of Cooper Ratten, the son of a famous football coach.

This post is dedicated to the my friend’s family and also to the Ratten family whose families have both lost a son, a brother and a friend.

(Excerpt of poem and eulogy, by Brett Ratten)

A picture of you

I only have a picture now,

A frozen piece of time,

To remind me of how it was,

When you were here and when you were mine.

I read Brett Ratten’s poem over and over, struggling to grasp the image of a father delivering his handwritten poem at his son’s eulogy. Continue reading “Touched by the road toll”

L is for lonely

“I’m afraid that sometimes you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ’cause you’ll play against you.”
Dr. Seuss

I spooned into the small of my mother’s back, as she had with me when I was a child.

‘Can you give me a back rub?’ she said, pulling at her top.

‘Okay mum lie flat and I’ll give you a massage,’  I began by tracing the letters of a word across her back, a game we used to play when I was growing up.

‘I, no wait, L,’ she said and exhaled an audible sigh.

With my touch as light as the evening breeze, I spelled the rest of the word.

‘O, V…’ her breathing slowed and she uttered the word ‘Love.’

‘Oh mum,’ I fell into the curve of her spine, nestling my head against the nape of her neck. ‘It’s going to be okay. I promise.’

‘I love you darling, thank you…’ Her voice broke and I saw the dampness pooling on her pillow, ‘I just don’t think I can take this anymore. Please tell me about that call, what did he say to you exactly?’ Continue reading “L is for lonely”

Sweet Greek

This post is dedicated to my beautiful friend with whom I have shared many years filled with joy, love and sadly, heartache. I do not write in judgement of her, instead I am honoured to be included in her life. Her strength is an inspiration, and her honesty is brutal and refreshing.

I arrived at her home to find her already waiting on her porch. She was expecting me, and she had dressed for the occasion, radiant in a sundress and kitten heels. Her corkscrew curls were coiled tight and a shiny slick of hairspray had secured any strands that threatened to disrupt the perfect image of the woman, mother and wife who stood before me. What does one wear when they are being admitted to rehab? I wondered. Continue reading “Sweet Greek”

A Physical Education

I knew that I had fallen in love with Lolita forever; but I also knew that she would not be forever Lolita.’ Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

It has been over twenty years since we last saw each other, though there is no mistaking that it is him. He still has that same shock of wispy blonde hair, his legs are still tanned and toned, and his biceps still bulge from his sleeveless tee. He jogs by me and our eyes meet. The pureness of their blue is deceptive as I know what lurks behind them.  I find myself swimming against the riptide, nearly drowning in his gaze as I remember that moment in his office. Continue reading “A Physical Education”

A whisper of womanhood

Morning’s first rays peeped intrusively between the curtains. A honeyed glow revealed her curled up, fetal like in the corner of her double bed. Her eyes were squeezed shut and she was oblivious to the interruption.

‘Darling, it’s time to wakeup.’ My whisper fell limp as she brushed it away, retreating back into slumber. I sat beside her and swept her hair from her face, my fingers engaging in an artful dance, untangling brittle ends bleached by family summers by the sea. Her bed-sheets slipped away to expose the bountiful promise of impending adulthood. I paused, glimpsing the swell of her bosom and arc of her hips. I caught my breath and exhaled the stabbing from between my ribs. Who was this woman laying before me? Continue reading “A whisper of womanhood”

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