Wake. Spins her legs out of the bed and wipes her eyes clear. Pillows gold, daylight shimmering, a fizzling flame across her shoulder. Clock ticks above the dresser, old hands with broken tips curling inward, slicing dust as it shifts the air. She gets up and sits down again. Blinking. Blinded. Thinking. The bedroom is dingy and poor, she desires greengage hills instead of the faded greengage walls, would cry for a comfortable mattress, no broken springs. Catching sight of the dead flowers on the bookshelf, along with her beaten up copies of homeware magazines, and the portrait of a newlywed husband and wife – unrecognisable people, sparks in their eyes. A briny taste on her lips, so she licks, tastes waves thrashing against the shore. Sunshine ravenous across the satin curtains dangling by the sides of the window. Distracting herself from her resting place she analyses each speck of dirt trapped beneath her pink toenails. Sits still, feeling aged as the table and chairs and creaking door that swings back and forth, back and forth, but well preserved by the silver band around her finger. Eyes gazing down into the cracks between the wooden floorboards. Darkness below.

Change is coming some point soon, or so she says, but if it ever will— that is anyone’s guess. How long has she dragged it out already – moving on? Time has gotten away with her. Black clothes still cover the furniture. A clear sign of her avoidances; there’s the mirror, propped up, filthy and thick with a grey fur of dead skin. Through the patches she sees the reflection of her legs, cut up with broken lines. The mirror fell a while ago. There’s nothing to put it back up again. Glass cracked. Legs look grisly when hacked. The sight of it makes her melt, dripping then sliding onto the barren ground, more helpless than a wounded hare caught in a poacher’s snare. Head bent to one side, so she can get a view of her whole figure, dressed in a cotton shawl, spread out before her like an untouched banquet, stunningly prepared but left to rot.

It makes her tremor. Unbearable, the sight of her body, still youthful and yet wasting, laced with veins of deep indigo, touched with fine yellow hair. Her discomfort stills the bedroom; it’s like it waits with her, waits, waiting for something to take her out of the mirror’s smashed world, to fix herself up.

Nothing comes for a long time.

Then the bite of salt as the house inhales the south sea breeze.

Distant bells call her to her senses as the young men, dressed in their woollens and denim overalls, start pushing off the docks in their fishing boats. From somewhere close by she hears the bark of a dog, her heart flutters, she then hears a whine. Outside the window, life. Birds calling to one another as they flock through the skies, the odd car rumbling up the cobbled road. A radio plays a cheerless melody; it reminds her, there’s a tune to sadness beyond the confines of her walls, not a suffocating silence. No music in the house, no. Not for a while. But out there, out there…

Froth white. A ghost from the sea.


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