Phoenix

The removalists scour Mama’s house, wiping away any traces of her. It has taken me the better part of the day to pack the picked over bones of her home, and I have left her bedroom till last.

This is the most difficult room, the one in which she disappeared so frequently into her own world, and then eventually disappeared into the darkness of her illness. There are too many memories here.

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Ladoo lies and love

“Can you guess how old I am?” she giggles, shoulders back, a few stray white hairs escaping the tight bun at the back of her head and snaking around her high cheekbones. The only lines on her face are the creases at the side of her mouth as she smiles.

“Come, tell me. Can you guess? I’m much older than you think, you know. Nobody ever guesses right.” She pats her slightly protruding stomach and rearranges her sari so it covers a little more flesh.

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What Would Your Mother Say?

Which mother? The one of my childhood, conservative, judgemental, and with a clear sense of how the world works? Or the one I am still becoming acquainted with now, who sees the subtle shades of grey, who perceives the nuances in tone at the age of 80?

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Wonderland Falls

 

Alice stands facing the door, her hand quivering the key to the lock. The weighty shawl of barely acknowledged memories shifts uncomfortably across her shoulders. Were her white linen and lace wish-memories usurping the real events that occurred in this place?

Her mind tumbles, stumbles, hurtles backwards through blurred images, pitching and tilting through her own chequered history, until it finds a mere wisp of childhood. The little girl, clad in her red velvet dress adorned with a giant yellow ribbon around the waist, tied into a bow at the back, comes slowly into focus.

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Hide And Seek

Marli sits in the dark, her knees drawn up to her chin, her breath coming in short sharp bursts. She is certain he can hear her heart beating; it’s hammering so loudly that her ears are reverberating. Her chest aches from where her knees are squeezed in tight by her arms. She makes herself as small and unnoticeable as possible.

“I know where you are.”

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Rotting Fruit

Image credit: From the series Anonymous by Argentinian photographer, Sofía López Mañán http://humanfilesjournal.com/…/16/sofia-lopez-manan-anonym…/

From the series Anonymous by Argentinian photographer, Sofía López Mañán http://humanfilesjournal.com/…/16/sofia-lopez-manan-anonym…/

Like rotting fruit she hung from the branches of the tree. Arms aching, tear-stained face, knees scraped.

How long had she hung there? She had run, the gang of kids behind her, laughing, taunting, cruel adult-child voices rising in derision.

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The Tooth Fairy

Glimmer waited till the room was perfectly still, dark as pitch, and she could hear the child breathing steadily. Wings beating rapidly in a continuing figure of eight, an infinity of flapping, she hovered above the sleeping child.

She’d once seen a hummingbird hovering for nectar at a honeysuckle, body perfectly still, wings beating furiously, and she had felt a real kinship. The hummingbird, however, had stuck its tongue out at her, pulled a face, and flown of guffawing to itself.

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Gone Troppo

Jack set off for the deli and his paper. It was always the same at this time of year; the air, pregnant with moisture, waiting for her waters to break, ankles swollen, and lumbering with each day.

Everywhere he went, Jack ran into yet another pressure-cooked person, red-faced, puffing, sweating like they’d just come out of a sauna. Jack had lived in this small town all his life, and the build up, just before the wet season, always led to foolishness.

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Thin Blue Line

 

She sat at the laminate table, head in her hands, completely spent. She had cried a lifetime’s quota of tears and there was no moisture left in her. She had become a desert of emotions, devoid of even the ability to smile wanly at her friends’ efforts to amuse her.

The trajectory of her life, this yawning chasm of mediocrity, each day of drudgery more laboured than the next, had drained the colour from her personality and her complexion.

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Water Wings

For as long as she could remember Miriam had been “slowpoke”. The early polio, and later callipers on her legs had given her an awkward gait. She had tried to fit in with the others, waddling eagerly behind the tumbling, giggling group of friends.

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