I am eight years old and this is the year I learn to float. It is the year I learn to speak Spanish, although I firmly believe floating will be more useful, especially if I want to become a magician’s assistant. You don’t need language qualifications.
“Heather?” Mum yells up the stairs. “Come down and set the table.” I wonder if I can do this by floating, but I will need more practise. She doesn’t understand magic. Not many people do. I set the table and float back upstairs, but I have to stop half way as I lose my focus.
At the dinner table, later in the evening, the conversation revolves around government policies, shopping lists and Harry’s exams. “I can levitate,” I say. Silence falls across the room. Grandpa is snoring in the corner in his rocking chair. Dad gives me an eat-your-food look and that’s all I say for the rest of the evening. At breakfast tomorrow, I will try Spanish. It will be more acceptable.
You fold yourself into tiny spaces, words come at you like rain. You tuck in your arms and feet – soles digging into your calves – so that the words don’t slice your limbs. You hide your competition win in case it’s seen as an indulgence, like the cakes you get for afternoon tea: Miniature, crustless cucumber sandwiches, cakes and scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Saliva lines your lips as you imagine this.
You squeeze your words into shorter sentences and, sometimes, single words. Your arms sting with the folding and the tucking. The tiny spaces make her feel bigger, less threatened; more. You listen hard and speak less, reaching a point where the bird flying overhead, beyond the skylights, provides the distraction you need.
‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ she asks, but you know you can’t give a proper answer.
‘I forgot,’ you say, and take a swig of hot tea, the mug leaving a ring on the mat. This will be noted… continue reading at Reflex Press.
Butterflies were circling the nasturtiums in a frenzied race to find nectar, but it had not yet flowered. It was a lush green and ripe for bloom, when the flame flower would climb, scrambling through other plants, covering unsightly fences. She had not yet flowered, when the ‘gardener’ had grabbed her by the waist and forced her onto his lap, kissing her neck and asking her to marry him. She had been nine years of age, he sixteen. She had tried to explain the age difference. He had told her that he didn’t care. The thought had repulsed her, her fierce kicks into the centre of his shins adding weight to her no, and her get off me. He had eventually let go, accepted her resistance too late… read the story at Anti Heroin Chic