We always planned to take my Barbie, the one with the match-burned hair, and toss her into the silo. We bent her arms, shrimp-pink and puckered from the hiss-press-melt of our games, high above her head, a contorted synchronised swimmer.
Good hurt. Wake up in well danced bones hurt. Wake up in last night’s clothes hurt. Wake up in your clothes.
When we were living in the mining community, a place that is now a ghost town with nothing left to show for everyone’s hard work except curb cuts for the long-lost driveways and a pine tree that has grown up between the arms of a carousel clothesline, I was told to stay away from the ditches.
Kate is not ‘imagining it’. There are small tufts of pale fluff on her neck, and no, it’s not ‘just a tissue in the washing machine’ as John suggests. There’s nothing drifting off his shirts, nothing clinging to Ella’s favourite black top, Josh’s Minecraft t-shirts. It’s more solid than tissue, just on her clothes. And only she can see it.
In the barren cold camp, you wear a dusty cape and top hat, wave my cane as if it were a wand and tell me your dream-stories, one after the next, your words spun and tossed like tethers into the air.
I tell you I’ve only ever shown it to a girl who I met on a tour bus in Moscow, where I was traveling with my parents. She had bad acne, and she really liked Duran Duran.
The old man fell asleep in his car, his nostrils pressed softly against the steering wheel, but the car kept going, because the old man’s foot was not asleep, was still pressing down hard, and later they would say, it’s not really his fault, he’s such an old man.