• Family

    Snow Day

    As if all the rooftops in our town were fairy cakes, one cold night, God decided to finish them all off with a dusting of icing sugar. The following morning, the whole town was cloaked in nature’s glitter. Sparkling spider webs adorning shrubs, solid blades of grass welcoming the lick from the morning sunshine, piles of thick fresh snow waiting to be crunched and rolled into snowmen. After a dull, blustery Saturday where no one in the family seemed at all happy, that morning was like a breath of fresh seaside air filling our lungs. Even Dave, who had been in a stupor all week from a hard slog at…

  • Family

    Something Bright

    ‘Mummy?’ Sophie asks, flinging our linked hands to and fro. ‘Yes?’ I answer mindlessly, strolling along the path hedged in by weather-beaten fences. Shouting pierces the atmosphere from a nearby house. ‘What is hope?’ she blurts out from under her purple bobble hat. She stares at the ground as she avoids the cracks. Where did that come from? Four-year-olds might not have the strength to throw a boomerang across a field, but they can swing a heavy-loaded question no problem. ‘Why do you ask, darling?’ Her wispy blonde hair flies in front of her wide blue eyes. ‘The man on the TV said hope when you was watching it. About…

  • Friendship

    Beauty

    Cocooned in an expensive, beige coat, adorned with enough gold to make a Christmas tree happy, and masked with the perfect colour palette for my skin tone, I almost laugh out loud at the absurdity of each tear that drips down to my Jimmy Choo ankle boots. Click-clack. Click-clack. No one seems to notice as I stride through the heaving crowd over the bridge sheltering the river. The water glistens as every ray hits it. Click-clack. Click-clack. The scars beneath my clothes. Imperfect lines burnt into my skin from the months of growing a baby. Boobs shrunk to the size of flying saucer sweets from the months of that baby…

  • Family

    Oscar

    I knew the long hours doctors worked. When my brother told me he wanted to become one, I knew I wouldn’t see him much. I didn’t expect to not see him for two years. He decided to work overseas, and I stayed with our mum. She needed care. She would never admit that her wheelchair stopped her from doing anything she wanted to do. She played basketball to prove that to everyone. I’m not sure she ever stopped to think that it might prevent her other son from doing what he wanted to do. Not that I’d ever tell her that. It wasn’t like I was saving lives. I was…

  • Family

    The Perfect Gift of Love

    The perfect gift of love. Her arrival date was Christmas Day. Her funeral date was not much later. She lived and died inside of me. I cradled her silent body, kissed her sleeping eyes, and hung tight until she was taken away. My baby. My gift. My love. Mince pies filled the air, laughter, lights, out-of-tune carols, and the tearing of paper. Everything was bright, though the colour had faded for me and Matt. Our angel would have been a year older today. She would have shone like the star on top of our tree. Sammy rolled around under the Christmas tree, crushing the presents with his long body, his…

  • Romance

    Advent

    We met in a quaint coffee shop one quiet afternoon. The persistent sun shone through the oval window onto his table where he was reading a dog-eared P.G. Wodehouse. He was in his own world full of chuckles. As I dropped two sugar cubes into my flat white, he laughed deeply, dimples forming in his broad face. I stirred my coffee, and he laughed again, and again, until he glanced around, realising he was no longer in his own world full of chuckles, and spotted me. His dimpled cheeks reddened. I broke into an amused grin. We got to talking about Jeeves. Eventually, we made plans for a dinner date.…

  • Family,  Friendship

    Logan and Lucy

    Lucy entered my life when Logan exited it. He’d been unwell for some time. We’d had many years together, our whole lives really. We met in primary school, and despite the bumpy road, we finished in our sixties. He slipped away peacefully, although can anyone really know if a person died peacefully? It was a Tuesday. A sunny day. I’ll never forget wrapping my hand around his cold fingers like a scarf that terrible morning. I wanted to keep him warm. I had barely shed a tear when a deep barking sliced through the stillness. For a second, I thought it was an awful mistake, and Logan was alive. When…

  • Family

    November News

    She breathed in the fresh November air, milder than the previous year, her boots squelching in the thick mud as she pushed her pumpkin in the pram along the sleeping riverside. Caramel leaves dropped as she strode under a large weather-beaten tree, her pumpkin’s wide blue eyes taking it all in.  ‘Can you see the trees, my darling?’ she yawned. The sun was faint, dew clinging to blades of grass, a quiet hum of birdsong in the air. She should be drinking tea with her pumpkin beside her, cosied up in her big bed still. It was too early, even for them, to be up. But as she opened her…

  • Family

    The Visit

    ‘Quickly, Ben!’ I glance out the bedroom window, hearing a car drive past. ‘Phew, it’s not her.’ ‘I don’t know why you turn into a Kim and Aggie mash-up when your mum visits,’ he grumbles, tossing his dirty socks into the laundry basket. ‘I do not,’ I object, resenting that. I don’t. Obviously, I want my house to be presentable, but it’s not like I want it gleaming. ‘Ben!’ ‘What?’ He spins around, eyes bulging. ‘There’s a used earbud down by your bedside table.’ I cannot even believe it. ‘My mum’s going to be sleeping in this room.’ ‘Calm down. You’re going to keel over before she gets here.’ ‘I…

  • Childhood,  Family

    Sailing Sundays

    Every Sunday afternoon, as a young boy, Father would take me out to the hills where we would set our boats to sail on the lake. It was the only time we were alone together. We never spoke much, and when we did, it was like talking to a stranger. When he won, he gave a solid nod of his head. When I won, he gave me a firm pat on the back. I remember a warmth spreading through my bones, particularly wonderful in the height of winter when the wind blew so fierce, all I wanted to do was cling tight to Father. We never did much hugging in…