When she ordered books she gave one name, when she ordered food she gave another. She gave a different name again when meeting friends, and had another reserved for family. There was one she used only for book clubs, but many for when she went dancing. And one or two, slotted between, which she gave only to police.
She always paid cash; she possessed no credit card.
It was not easy to keep track of so many identities, but she managed. She did not see that she had a choice.
The list grew longer and longer, like a scroll in her head, and on her deathbed there was great confusion as everyone remembered somebody different, somebody more like themselves.
When I came home from work one afternoon, I discovered my aunt had turned into a carnivorous plant. Finish the story here.
This piece first appeared at Quart Short Literary Reading Nights in Adelaide, and was also performed at Salon REaD, an emerging literary salon in Brisbane (photos of the latter below).
Feel like one last sweet treat to farewell Easter?
Try listening to my short story, The Master Class, read by Holly Myers, as part of Quart Short Literary Reading Nights.
Something is not quite right at this bakery…
When the granddaughter came to visit, the grandmother spent the entire time listing the people who no longer had time to visit her.
The first bust lost its nose and had another nose affixed to it.
Or, rather, the nose of a second bust lost its face and so was affixed to the face of the first bust.
Therefore there is both a nose without its face and a face without its nose somewhere in the world, and no matter how much each piece longs for it, they will never again be reunited.
Additionally, there is a nose and a face that will be wedded together for all of time, whether they like it or not.
Check out my flash fiction piece published on the 4th floor journal today.
And if you enjoyed that, read this poem.
The Dutch grandmother did not like to admit she had missed watching the weather forecast on television in the evening, because if she had missed watching the weather in the evening it was as a result of falling asleep, and she did not want to admit she had fallen asleep. And so, when asked about the weather by her granddaughters, if, indeed, she had missed watching it, she would say, ‘Sunny with some cloud and a chance of rain.’
Over the years, as her granddaughters grew up and moved away, each time a weather station forecasted sun and clouds and a chance of rain all in the same brief window, they would smile to themselves.
‘Oma weather,’ they would say, nodding their heads. ‘An excellent chance of Oma weather today.’
He tried to remind himself that the process of ageing wasn’t a disease, it wasn’t a contagion— it could not be caught.
And when he couldn’t do this, he tried to think of it as a disease that he had already caught. But it occurred to him that this made ageing a disease which was advancing on him at every second of every day.
Then he tried to tell himself ageing was a disease that everyone had caught. But instead of a feeling of camaraderie, he was faced with a feeling of inevitability, like when you’re driving on a country road and a deer jumps out and you know you’re going to hit it.
So he told himself ageing was a thing like hair growth, it just happened slowly over time and, like with hair, you should treat it all gently. And so he took extra good care of his hair, and was calmed.
She could never get over the loneliness that set in when visiting her friends overseas, as she listened to them discuss future events which would occur in her absence. How could her hosts and hostesses plan a life without her, when she, attending guests, made every effort to act as if life could not go on without them, as if they were her everything and would be until the end of time—or, at least, until the end of the visit?