He was seeing another woman, a woman who was not his wife, which admittedly was a little disorienting. What was he gaining that wasn’t already given to him by me or the wife (the wife never called him daddy). He hadn’t replied to my texts in three days, and I was about to announce a fake pregnancy. Then she called.Continue reading “Quarters by Meg Croley”
Carlton was a diminutive man with a rotund belly and a shock of tawny hair that swished from side to side as he shifted his head like a curious sparrow. He would drift through the working days in our publishing company brushing past his colleagues wordlessly in perfumed high-rise elevators, impossibly tight hallways and the tearoom where everyone gathered at mid-morning for an extra caffeine fix. He designed book covers for manuscripts that wove magical realist tales of invisible animals and children lost in ethereal kingdoms – fantasy worlds that seemed to give him sustenance, something maybe his surrounding environment couldn’t.Continue reading “Picture Frame by Tim Frank”
Amber Kenny was a timid child. She had a round face and hair to match her name. Every night she prayed for her wild, orange curls to turn dark and straight but every morning they bounced back into place, redder than ever.Continue reading “Kenny Women by Fiona McGarvey”
In my suitcase there were six pairs of knickers. Six was the number I’d need for a week of work, assuming that one night I’d swim or go to the gym and it wouldn’t be outrageous to wash a couple of pairs in the hotel shower.
I’d packed four tops, all of them black. Jackie in Rentals had told me that if you wear all black nobody notices. Once, she’d worn the same black shirt every day for a month and no one raised an eyebrow. Then she wore a yellow shirt twice in a week and four people said don’t you have another top?
Why do Southerners romanticize dreck? They positively gush over everything in sight, including the weeds covering the telephone poles along the highway. Kudzu, an invasive weed, is treated like gorse. Southerners are proud of it, like everything else. Kudzu is nothing to be proud of, but Peter Taylor is. Light in August is something to get excited about. Tennessee Williams knew a thing or two, but is he invited to the Liberty Bowl? What of Eudora Welty?
“Err…Ladies and Gentlemen…The Groom.”
The wee mousey man backed away out the door. The groom stood up championing Sports Direct and eating a Gregg’s sausage roll.
I feel the scream rise, but I crush it back down into a solid lump of coal, and then further, harder, until it becomes an imperfect diamond of rage stuck in my throat. I can’t let it out. I can’t swallow it. It sits, laboring my breathing. I shove it down as hard as I can, store it, just like all the others. The rage, the sorrow, the pain. It all goes to the same place.
My life is like a demented fairy tale where the princess barfs jewels and escapes the evil Prince in her shitty Honda. I should be rich from all this.
-I don’t know why you have to drink so much all the time.
They were sitting at a small wooden table in the kitchen. The dinner was long finished and between them were two empty plates that had been gently pushed aside, and two bottles of wine; one empty, one full.
“Don’t worry, my dear, it will be all right.” He cocked his head. “You did promise.”
Mr. Thayer moved to touch Lydia’s shoulder, but she pulled back, wrapping the thick robe tighter. Mr. Thayer – she would never have thought to call him Gregory – stood back from her. Lydia could not interpret his expression. He might have been showing a twist of amusement or contempt around his bearded lips, but mostly she felt that he was studying her as if she were an animal or a specimen. That was what he did, after all, studied and painted.
And she had promised him. She found herself blushing. At the same time, she felt in control, in some way.
‘It’s been many a year since we had a day like today! It was a lovely wedding. You looked beautiful. It was an absolute pleasure dancing with you.