Chrissy stopped in her tracks and turned to Helen in excitement. “Look, Mum,” she said. “Look at the sparkle in the water. It’s gold, I swear. I’m going to be rolling in it, just you wait!”
There was a firebird in Bangkok, two days after Valentine’s Day. The first sighting of the bird was at 4:57 pm: a woman selling fake iPhone cases on the street near the Tesco Lotus at On Nut called 191 and reported that she had seen wings in the sky, just above the Skytrain – wings bright red and orange and crackling with fire.
Over in the eastern sky, the large yellow disk of the sun was making an appearance. A gleam of light shone through the narrow gap of the olive-coloured curtains at No. 47, a modest house in typical suburban Surrey, a place where the same events occur each day and change is unwelcome.
It used to be that the land was enough for me. I liked the solidity of the ground beneath my feet. I could walk for hours, run as far as my feet would carry me. It is not enough for me anymore.
Smoke obscured the view for a moment as Oksana searched for a sign. She squinted but there was no platform, only the wide blurred plain, covered in mist. This was nobody’s stop.
I am one. I am one of millions of mothers out there trying to understand this COVID-19 pandemic. I want to cry, scream, throw my fists in the air and punch this invisible enemy.
Remembering gets easier with practice. Practice by pulling out the yolk of nostalgia, feeling for the overdue residues. The cardboard cut-out birthday cake from kindergarten class, with paper candles, icing, and painted flames.
It was time to get naked and face the ugliest parts of myself. The water roared and the trees glowed, taking on a life of their own in the Costa Rican jungle.
I was supposed to be at Corinna by now; they were expecting me at the pub, but the journey had taken longer than I thought.
Growing up, I saw Princess Diana a lot. In newspapers, on TV, smiling from photo frames. Suspended, headless, in the centre of porcelain plates on plastic stands never intended for use.
Noelle had promised she would write. She was different when she said it. She was the straight-backed, empty-eyed Noelle I’d come to loathe in our last weeks together.
The last memory I have of Cuba was from the back of a car, seeing my grandmother fade away. Had I known then what I know now, I would have held her a little tighter for a little longer.
A scruffy valley of fields lay behind me. I had lost my path and stumbled along amongst the cabbages for the better part of the day. Before me I found an impenetrable snarl of shrubbery. Then, surprisingly close, the clang and grind of a heavy metal lid being moved.
The Headmaster scolded him for burning and biting his skin, and all he could do was apologize to his stepmother.
On the Thursday Bowman and Carmen had a party, they ordered Sukhothai and Bowman made a playlist for the occasion.
With his throat the scene of an alien autopsy and anxiety washing over him in waves, James thought about the work he had to do to get another job and fund existence in an area once called the murder capital of Western Europe.
From the upstairs window, I see him appear. The young boy – running on legs as thin as matchsticks – comes into view at the end of the street.
When I was a child, and the weather prevented me careering up and down the street on my roller-skates, I spent hours in my bedroom, creating tiny books out of scrap paper held together with split pins.
Suggi watched crows pick at a dying dog’s flesh. One pulled at the skin to stretch it while another pecked to cut. The dog’s guts spilled. Blood oozed. Nerves and clots pulsed outside Suggi’s cage.
“Mom, how did you actually meet dad?” I ask. She glances through the family photo album in my hands. “Margo, I’ve already told you. I nearly drowned in my three-day swim and he was the lifeguard who saved me,” she says. She smiles, save for her worried eyes.
Singapore in 2022, just beyond the brink of discussions about preventing global warming, is hotter and wetter than it has always been.