By Sandra Arnold
She tried to tell her mum that it didn’t happen the way they said, but it was hard to get her attention in a room full of people all talking at the same time and her mum’s head buried in her hands and her dad standing glassy-eyed in the corner.
With her mouth right up to her mum’s ear she told her she was so so so sorry about the lipstick thing because that’s what made dad drag her to the sink and scrub it off with the scrubbing brush until he couldn’t tell what was blood and what was lipstick and then she said she hated him and so he whacked her across the face with the back of his hand and that’s why her nose turned on like a tap. But. The rest of it. Well…
She just wanted to fly. So she made wings from chicken feathers and climbed to the top of the tree. She was a bird. She was a fairy. She flew round the sun and played tunes on the stars. She splashed rainbows on spider-silk and floated on clouds and swam with the little silver fish. She sang with frogs and waved at the moon and danced on dew-drenched grass. She was wind. She was rain. She was breath in the newborn calf.
Nobody looked pleased to see her. Nobody listened to her stories.
She watched them all pile out of the house and into the waiting black cars. She watched the neighbours lining the pavement, bowing their heads as the cars crawled past. Only one little boy noticed her standing alone on the street. As the last car turned the corner he waved to her and blew kisses from a rear window. She caught them in her cupped hands.
Sandra Arnold is a New Zealand novelist, short story and non-fiction writer with a PhD in Creative Writing. Her work has been widely published and anthologized and has won and been short-listed in several literary awards.