Jolley Prize 2014 (Shortlist): 'Doisneau's Kiss' by Cate Kennedy

He was a man with a pinboard, and that boosted him a hundred points in her nervy evaluation, the first night she saw his room. On the pinboard were tickets, a laminated backstage pass, a wrapper from a Swiss chocolate, all those things that could wait for drowsy burbling nocturnal stories in the dark, the recounting of Times Before Her recited off like threaded beads. All thrillingly making up the prelude, the teaser, the set-up before the main feature and all its rightness. Discussion of dreams, explanations of scars and tattoos. Former crushes. Photos from real photobooths, with different haircuts, a smile she would tease him about, maybe a picture on his parents’ mantelpiece of him as an awkward partner at a débutante ball and the one of her on her parents’ mantelpiece in braces, in those overalls. Yes, yes, all this would wait, resting, to be edged into place. For now she would borrow a book – because he was also a man with books. Another hundred points, another daring row of five hopeful, shivering stars.

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Cate Kennedy

Cate Kennedy

Cate Kennedy is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She won a Queensland Literary Award for her short story collection Like a House on Fire (Scribe, 2012) and a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for her poetry collection, The Taste of River Water (Scribe, 2011). Her work has been published widely both in Australia and internationally. The short story is, and probably always will be, her favourite form.

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