• 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…

  • 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,  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…

  • Friendship

    Our School Walk

    Every morning on my way to school, I walked past the same girl. Her mummy was never with her. We never said hello. She looked the same age as me. Her eyes were stuck to the pavement like the Velcro straps on my school shoes. She had a black rucksack with holes in it, and it was never zipped up properly. Once, a pencil fell out, and my mummy picked it up to give to her. She didn’t say thank you. She looked so sad, I wondered if she had a mummy at all. One morning, it rained so hard that I thought the sky was trying to make popcorn…

  • Family,  Friendship

    One Olive or Two

    The salty tang of olives would hang in the air, sun cream, sweat, salami and cheeses. Picnics with the girls. The sun hanging over our hot heads like a cot mobile. No one knew the time, no one cared. On the weekends, we were free. One positive pregnancy test later, everything changed. The weekends blurred into weekdays, the sun was too strong for a baby, and a watch ticked on my untanned wrist. Round the clock feeding. All the time. If I didn’t check the hour, the baby would remind me. And olives? Cabbage leaves were the new olives. One summer night later, everything changed. The baby burned as hot as the…

  • Friendship

    Just a Piece of Furniture

    He sat on me every morning with his black coffee and newspaper, every afternoon with his cheese sandwich and lemonade, and every evening to watch the six o’clock news. He read to me, stories of adventure and wonder. He talked to me when the loneliness grew heavy and thick like a raincloud. He sang to me, sombre lyrics, jolly lyrics. Some rare days we didn’t see each other at all. He was my companion, and I was his. One afternoon, after a few bites of his cheese sandwich, he slumped so far into me, I could feel the weight of his entire life. He didn’t finish his sandwich. He sat…

  • Childhood,  Friendship

    A Drop of Kindness

    I heard the shouting through my bedroom wall one night. It was a woman’s voice. She sounded like how my mum did when my older brother had done something stupid. I fell asleep to the sound of her slurring words. The next night, as I was drifting off, I heard a small, soft voice. It was a girl. She sounded like me. Her sad singing, like a lullaby, sent me off to sleep. Smash. Thud. Bang. I got used to the shouting and crying after a while. I thought we’d have decent neighbours when we moved like our last ones. It was all Dad’s fault. He didn’t lose his job.…

  • Friendship

    Snapped

    It was two o’clock. The sky was bright. The leaves lime, golden, russet brown. Everything was a mess. Twiggy, knotted, dying, living. Beautiful yet barren. Winter was approaching. December drew close. The wind whipped my hot cheek as I stood under the spidery tree. My nose was cold. I ran to meet him here, my feet darting, my heart dragging behind. I asked to meet him here, though I wish I hadn’t. But if I didn’t tell him now, I never would. He had a right to know before he went out and bought me a Christmas gift I might never be able to open. A twig snapped. ‘Sarah? Someone…

  • Friendship,  Romance

    Beauty in the Beach

    I met Kym at AA. She was a slim woman, with sharp cheekbones, dark velvety skin, and a soft smile. She captivated me. It wasn’t only her appearance, though. Her heart was good. Flawed, maybe, but good. The first week I met her, she told us her story, and I remembered that AA was a safe space, a space to heal. I could hardly walk up to her and ask, “would you like to join me for a coffee?” Of course, a woman like her never would’ve looked twice at a man like me. I wasn’t unattractive. I had hair the colour of dry sand, swept to the side, as…

  • Friendship,  Romance

    Love Lock

    We ate cheap bread. We moaned about lecturers. We said we’d jog at the start of each term. We didn’t. We drank too much. We worked through the night. We slept through the day. We ran on medicine. We travelled home with bags of dirty washing. We kissed. We argued. We made up. We fell in love. We said it would be forever. We didn’t do well at the end of our second year. We fell out. We spent time apart. We made up. We flirted. We danced. We cycled. We raced. We got warning letters from missed lectures. We argued. We ate noodles. We drank coffee. We were worn…