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Try a cocktail.

19 Sep


17 Sep

She liked to dry the dishes twice, once straight out of the dishwater, and again before putting them away. She was polishing really, not just drying them. There was something steady and reassuring about doing it that way.

After breakfast Andy liked to watch her from the table, while he smoked. Sometimes he asked her, “What are you thinking about?”

“Oh, this and that” she would say, without turning. To be truthful she wasn’t thinking about anything at all. Neither this nor that.


Eat lunch.

12 Sep

How would he tell the head of orchestra? Leaving the school tuba on the tram was pretty easy really, as easy as leaving his laptop.

Yesterday he’d left late, he was hungry and just wanted to get home to eat. He didn’t even notice the tuba was gone until this morning before school. Probably not a good idea to mention his blazer was gone too. It may still turn up and there was no point in stressing mum.

Take your time.

11 Sep

There was always a moment in mid-dive when she hung motionless over the water. She had time to look closely at the slab of blue jelly spread out beneath her, each undulation with its own glassy reflection of the lights above. She had time to check if her feet were together, her hands in place…just so.

When she’d made her checks, she could compose herself and continue the dive. Perfect re-entry, resurface for applause.


Enjoy the ride.

9 Sep

Make no sudden movements.

8 Sep

She saw the gecko as soon as she walked in. Without taking her eyes from it, in a movement as fluid as water, she crouched and reached out. The tiny lizard didn’t move, even when she took it in her hand.

“We meet again, small friend” she whispered, “In my home this time”.

“The gecko has taught you to dance” said a low voice from the shadows, “I can see now what a great gift you have…the gift of nature’s grace”.


There are no free holidays.

6 Sep

The holiday was interminable. She cared little that it was warm every day and the air blew sweet across the gardens of the Villa Valentino… her thoughts were far away. August, please pass quickly so that I might see him again.

“THERE you are dear” her aunt looked flushed, “I’ve been searching for you. We’re all for a game of Bocce while it’s still light. Do be a sport.” She frowned and adjusted her large straw hat.

“I really would prefer not. It’s hot and I have a headache.”

“It’s such a shame you’re not making more of our trip. I’ve seen guests I recognise from the Tattler.”  She moved briskly to the steps,  “It’s as if we are in the pages of an exotic novel.”

No sound now but the solidly determined steps of her aunt’s day shoes, and the faint laughter of others in the distance.


Shake it.

3 Sep

Change the locks.

25 Aug

She loved the pool terrace when it was like this, cool and fragrant in the evening. She lit a cigarette and closed her eyes.

“Hello Sylvia.”

Spinning, she saw him standing barely an arm’s length away.

“But you…you can’t possibly be here!”

“Clearly I can, darling, be sensible” he smiled, “Do I look like a dead man?”.

He bent down, and stubbed the cigarette that had fallen from her hand. She smelled his cologne, and a memory washed through her.  A memory of such fear, and pure panic, and violence, that she was made clumsy with shaking.

Then he stood up to face her…so close…

“No need to be afraid”, he kissed her lightly, “I’m here now to look after you.”



21 Aug

She wasn’t sure whether the heat from the fire was making her eyes sting, or if she was going to cry.

He loved to build a fire, she thought, he built this one… suddenly she was sobbing. The thought of the future without him was too hard to get her mind around. How could she live without him? Was there any point? Who else understood her, loved her, knew her history? No one else smelled like him, and no one else made her feel safe.

She would have to grow skin again. Thick skin.

She remembered to breathe in, breathe out and then breathe again. Back to the beginning.