She reached two hands to the back of her neck, I thought to unzip her dress and wanted to say wait, stop but then, like a magician, she produced one hair pin and another, and another. She’d been straddling my hips and now she let her full weight rest while she concentrated. Eight pins, silver and small, in a school on my chest.
The lady recrosses her legs and stubs out her cigarette.
“Alright, boys,” she says. “You can come in now.” The “boys” are a surly painter and a uni student, neighbours from opposite sides of her apartment. The painter lives with his wife across the hall. The kid studies history.
The room is full of half-packed boxes and she’s got g-strings artistically placed on the furniture. There’s one strung over the back of the suede couch. Another is positioned on the coffee table. The boys pretend not to see them. They stand in her doorjamb, pensive. The kid doesn’t know what to do with his hands.
When the family cat Poppy dies at the ripe old age of sixteen, I am eleven and the only one that seems to realise her soul has been reincarnated into the body of one of the bush pigeons that occupy the trees in our back paddock. It isn’t particularly hard to notice; one day a tree is empty, and the next day Poppy stops breathing not long after lunch. Continue reading
We met on a Saturday.
Did you know we’re moving through space at five-hundred and thirty kilometres a second?
Some memories have archives, and these exist in a book I kept when I was seven.
I would pay my way in the world by selling conch shells to tourists off of the edge of a jetty on Petite Martinique. My business partners were my older sister and my younger brother. and I made quite a profit – it’s hard for anyone to resist that pink perfection of a Caribbean shell forever playing the ocean against your ear.
She watched Jake slip the bolt cutters from his backpack and place the parrot-like beak on the chain. He squeezed the handles gently. The metal made a soft schink and he threw the cutters to the side, already busy pulling the chain off the bike. She wanted him to throw the chain on the grass and then her down on top of it, so he could fuck her as the grass tickled her ears and the cold links of metal left marks down her back. Then she could get up and leave him, take the bike and ride down the hill naked, hair streaming behind her. There was something desperate and wrong with what they were doing, and she wanted him, there in the dark, by the side of the road.
I was in the kitchen when the angel came to me, holding my face in the vapours of the soup on the stove. It was raining and I was wearing very thick socks. The soup was too salty.
The angel was beautiful and terrible the way queens and widows and wounded soldiers are beautiful and terrible. She told me I was going to have a baby and then she said let me show you something. Let me show you everything.