Saturday, 6 June 2020

'Some Things in and out of the Garden at the Smith Family Barbecue' by Gaynor Jones

Smoke billowing. Clean washing taken down from the line, bundled back into the machine. A voice that can’t be hers saying it’s fine it’s only laundry like she doesn’t resent doing laundry all day, all week, all year. A girl pretending to fly, arms spread as wide as her smile but underfoot, always underfoot, and so shooed away like a gnat. Too-hot sun. Stifling. Unbearable. Windows open everywhere. The key forgotten, lazing on the upstairs sill. A man, lip trembling at his inability to light a goddamned barbecue. Smoke smothering. A woman who feels she can’t breathe. A family who do not mean to suffocate. A girl, waving, who thinks she might fly. A stumble. A smashed gnome. A pause, then I hated that fucking thing anyway. A shared laugh. A moment, just a moment, like things might be okay. A voice from up high, look at me, look at me. A silhouette in the window frame. A split-second realisation. A nature documentary. Birds tumbling off cliffs. The cruelty of the cameramen, only watching. Metal tongs dropping. The sound of steel on stone. A scream. A girl who thought she could fly. A man who was able to catch her. An tumble of limbs and rapid heartbeats. Two pairs of eyes locking on each other. A moment, a definite moment, that things will be okay.

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