Sunday, 30 November 2014


It was 11:17am when Grace started crying. We were in Math class, foreign functions painted over the pages. The pencil fell to the floor. The desk shook as she ran out.

“Go with her,” Miss Smith said. To me.

I found her in the bathroom, her reflection crimson in the mirror. Tear puddles dotted the floor. She looked at me and pressed her palms into her face, as if she were trying to shield the tears. She wanted to hide them, lock them away. She wouldn’t be able to. I’d tried.

“Are you hurt?” I asked. Her knees went first. She collapsed to the floor, gasped for air as if the walls were closing in on us. Her sobs echoed. I sat next to her. The auburn waves fell over her face, strands sticking to her sorrow stained cheeks. As she lifted her arm to move them away, I saw them. I saw the scars winding their way up her wrists. They were deep. Just like mine.

She looked up. “What’s wrong with me?”

A question I’d been asking myself for weeks. “How do you feel?” My words were breaths.


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

False appearances

That girl you saw earlier, the one whose smile shimmered, remember her? Her eyes were diamonds during the day. She cried that night. She sobbed until her tears hurt her cheeks, until her bones felt weaker than her heart. She never thought that would be possible. Her thighs were crimson with palm prints, she pressed until the pain felt numb, cursing the fat that only her eyes could see.

That boy you watched at lunchtime, the one with the scar on his left shoulder, remember? He told you his dog scratched him, an innocent offense. He tried to laugh it off. His eyes weren’t laughing. His dad gave him that scar. Beer breath, ash stained fingers, the knife flew through the air. The blood drops stained the carpet. His mother pretended it was red wine.

Remember the waiter who served you yesterday, the one who messed up your drink order a couple of times? His wife died a year ago. He works three jobs to be able to feed his children. After an hour or two of sleep, he leaves before the scent morning coffee lingers in the air. He never even sees his children.

You laughed when the old lady snapped at you earlier. You saw the look in her eyes and called her crazy. She put up her Christmas tree alone last year, ornaments damp from her tears. She spent Christmas morning crying that her husband hadn’t left her a present. He’d been dead for almost a decade. She’d still waited for him.

Your History teacher’s laugh used to ring through the classroom. She’d sing when she handed back essays, draw doodles on the sides of the board while you’d be working. She seemed full of life. Absolutely full of it. Until she didn’t have it anymore. It was 1:05pm on a Sunday when the neighbour heard the gunshot. Her laugh was never heard again.  

Nothing is ever the way that it seems. 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Look up

She watched the sunset through the screen of her phone. Brightened the colours with the click of a single button. The picture stayed, but she didn’t – didn’t stop to smell the looming rainclouds, taste the evening breeze. She never did.

I talked to him while he talked to someone else, thumbs dancing over the keyboard. Text tones became the background music of our one-way conversation. I told him about my parent’s divorce – he nodded. “Sounds good” he said.

He filmed his daughter’s graduation, admired her beauty through the view finder. He was fixing the zoom when she got her certificate. He missed the moment she threw her cap. Camera flashes became the crowd’s applause. Their hands were full.

She was walking, crossing the road at the time. The screen blinded her. She didn’t see the red man, didn’t catch the car. Screeches sounded, tires braking. Gasps stayed frozen in the air. She didn’t even look up. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014


I remember graduating high school. The awkward cap and flowing gown – everything I’d dreamt about, everything I’d waited for. That split second of relief washed through me, goose bumps attacked my skin. I’d done it. Now what? I moved on, went to university, constantly haunted by the idea of work. Dollar signs blurred my vision, the future overshadowing my present. I was dying for an apartment, a space in Manhattan, one of those buildings with winding fire escapes, just like the movies. Then I got it. I got the job, I got the money, I got the apartment. The bills came in and I paid them. Just like I should have. I never used the fire escape. Man proposed, divorce followed within a couple of years. That’s life. Stretch marks darkened with every month and, before I knew it, I was buying diapers and cribs and plastic toys that played the same song over and over again. The kids grew up and went their separate ways. Finally. I was dying to travel. A plane ticket and an empty bank account later, I’d made it to Australia – a seventy three year old woman with mismatched socks and hair greyer than the rocks I flung into the ocean. And only then did I begin to realise that, through it all, through all the expectations and waiting and dying for the next big thing, I’d forgotten everything in between. I’d forgotten to live.

The applause echoed. My blurred vision focused like the lens of my father’s camera. My mother cheered louder than her voice would let her. I blinked at my name printed onto the diploma, wrapped up with a red ribbon. I’d done it. And, with a single handshake, high school was over.

“So, what do you want to do now?” They asked.


For Leah Daymon