• Family

    Our Last

    The warm weight of her head against my rising and falling chest, her deep breathing in and out, her lead body as still as a starry night sky. My lips sticking against her hot, fine hair, her lashes beautifully trimming her dainty lids, her matchstick thumb resting against her cherry bottom lip. My precious two-year-old, exhausted, vulnerable, sleeping soundly on well-trodden ground, as once was the norm, probably for the very last time.

  • Childhood,  Family,  Friendship

    Freeze Frame

    Change comes to us all. A tight-knit family, torn by disagreement. A pandemic that alters the very idea of human interaction. Change came to me. When I look back, I see a video. Characters entering and exiting like actors in a Shakespearean play, scenery morphing in the background, colours, shapes, shades blurring in the fast-paced journey I travelled. Yet, one still image remains. The one I look back to, pine for, the days when I couldn’t imagine anything changing, when I was utterly happy. When my Dad took my brother and me to the local motor shows. We were allowed to pick one toy car from a mountain of them…

  • Family

    Memory’s Perfume

    Salty sea air. As soon as the scent hits my nostrils, I’m jolted back to the days of high-pitched giggles, knotted sandy blonde hair, smooth skin like sun-kissed pebbles, drawn-out blush-evenings with whispering waves. Days with my daughter, just us, carefree. When she was young, when we were close. Where no troubles existed, where we never disagreed. Ice cream was a must for us both, even in January. A swim was a necessity, though not in January. Days with my daughter, just us, carefree. Now, she’s grown, with a daughter of her own. And I’m grown, with a daughter miles from her home. Days with my husband, just us, careworn.…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…