When I walk by the security-office door on my break and it’s open, I snatch a look. The supermarket guards keep the door open when it’s hot, over forty. Right now, mid-February, that’s most of the time.‘You must get boiling with that headscarf on,’ my friend Skye says, almost whispering. We’ve been friends for weeks before she says this. I’ve seen the other girls wear strappy tops under their brown supermarket overalls.It’s only us in the staff tearoom, me and Skye in the plastic chairs, Mo standing against the wall in his silver trainers, drinking Nescafé. Mo glances up, he doesn’t miss a thing ...... (read more)
Certain days: it is easy to imagine this small, once-prosperous river town (barely distinct from many other small, once prosperous river towns) as if you are only passing through it, shunpiking the thruways in favour of the scenic rural two-lanes on a road trip in your better, your best life. The life in which your formidable boxer-turned-human-rights-lawyer wife has simply pointed to this town on a much misfolded map and declared: Here, lunch.... (read more)
I am a girl who knows how to hold a gun. On weekends, Dad drives me out to the pistol club, while Mum pulls white-sapped weeds from the garden. She plants natives that can handle the salt in the air; angular, bristling plants with angular, bristling names: banksia, grevillea, bottlebrush. A line of Geraldton Wax along the verge to replace some mean and blighted ...
Tom wasn’t supposed to bring the wig home; it was peeled from his scalp like a banana skin every night. Then it was arranged on a faceless polystyrene head that sat in front of his dressing room mirror.... (read more)
That winter it was bad and he often woke a little before midnight with his teeth aching and he would dress quickly and walk through the snow for an hour or so and later, when he came home, he saw the lights burning softly at her window. She didn’t seem to sleep much. Sometimes he stopped in the hallway and listened at her door but there was little to hear. Once he heard the squeak of a cork but there weren’t any voices and he liked the thought of her having a late night drink, alone, while the building slept.... (read more)
You are meeting with your PhD supervisor. You’re in his office – there’s a desk, books, framed degrees, and a wife, also framed. And there’s you and your supervisor seated on opposite sides of his desk. You’ve just completed the first confirmation for your PhD. Confirmation had once made you think of young girls in white tulle dresses, of people who have faith. At university, confirmation is when the school deems whether or not your research is viable to continue. It may not be if your theory isn’t new enough, or your proposal is too ambitious or it’s half-cooked, or maybe you’ve not been working hard enough, or maybe you’re a stupid girl. There are a number of reasons why the university may not have faith in you.... (read more)
I’m scrubbing the word SCUM off the front door of our house. I wipe so hard that my wrists start to ache, but the red letters remain bold and bright, their edges dripping as if they’re bleeding....
I can’t remember when the man who is now my husband first told me he loved me. Was it when we drank cocktails at that windowless bar with the old train seats you could turn to face in either direction? We tried to go back once, but it had been replaced with a hardware store; we priced a set of outdoor furniture and bought some new wire for the clothesline to stop ...