I’ve recorded a theme tune for my novel “Last Exit to Sodford”. (The plan is to publish the book with a free download of this and other tracks.) I was aiming for that ‘dreary wet Monday’ feeling, so you could call it a success …
Two of my short stories have just been published in the Lightship Anthology as runners-up in the International Prize Winners 2013 edition.
Four stories of mine have been longlisted for this year’s Fish Flash Fiction Prize.
It wasn’t a chasm, or even a fog, that separated her from her past, Laura reflected on the train journey to the reunion. It was something more substantial, though somehow less tangible. Angela would no doubt find a word for it when they met. She would probably feel the same.
Twenty-five years ago they had studied English together, last seeing one another the day they’d collected their degree results. And what had become of her since then she had barely ever wondered. Life had taken over, its mazy river sweeping her seaward, and she’d come ashore another person. Career, husband, children and divorce divided her now from her university days … Memory was a curious thing, she felt. Without it you were almost nothing, yet with it you might be tethered to a self that was no longer you … A few moments stood clear in the mind, like stills from an old movie, but the rest had receded into a dim, shuttered corner labelled ‘Someone Else’. Emma Bovary and Anna Karenina remained more part of Laura than the ‘her’ of 1983, whom she could only view as some sort of emigrated cousin … Was that the function of memory – the function, at least, of its loss: to distance you from former selves? Perhaps rebirth was impossible otherwise.
How many ‘hers’ had there been? she wondered. How many Lauras?
The carriage rattled from side to side as it pulled into the station. Angela was waiting on the platform, reliable as ever. Familiar blue eyes penetrated Laura’s – her ‘psychic stare’, they used to call it. The smile was genuine.
“You haven’t changed a bit, girl.”
Laura gazed back at her, adrift for a moment. She pictured herself swimming naked up a stream, stopping here and there to collect lost mementoes … a seashell her daughter had found on a beach in Cyprus … a fountain pen from her first job … cufflinks she’d once given her husband … the pendant she’d worn – and lost – the first night she drank wine … one of her son’s milk teeth … a plastic fairy she had treasured as a child … her mother’s butterfly hair-grip …
“Is there a wine bar nearby?” she asked.
“Just around the corner,” said Angela.
“Do they serve cocktails?”
“Why?” Angela seemed puzzled.
Laura smiled. “I feel like me again.”