Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Odd one out

Hot Australian summer, 2009. Thirty kilos of luggage in my mother's living room and the rest in a storage container in Sawston, six hundred million miles from the blast zone under my feet.

My brother's house. Guitars and keyboards and laptops and magnets on the fridge and crayons and felt-tips and little school satchel and photographs and paper and a big bowl of garlic prawns and salad. So nuclear it is nuclear, pyrocumulus unrolling its cap under the ceiling of everything.

My smallest niece was small. I held her on my lap and we looked at pictures of things. She pointed with a miniature hand, landed with certainty like a pale pink gecko and some van der Waals. Bird! Book! Pineapple! Car! Truck!  

She smelled like a small ripe fruit grown somewhere hot and rainy. Sheep! Cow! She turned my brother's brown eyes on me, planted inside her wee shortbread biscuit of a face. She knew I knew it. The naming of things! Her nose crinkled. I put my finger to the tip. Abbie, I said. And then we laughed together until our tummies hurt because we are not like these things, these sheep and cars and strawberries, but we have names too.  

No comments: