Doggy Paddling - Maria Herbert-Liew

Doggy Paddling

Blood red, it rose. It's not real, she tells herself. The pounding, pressing against her temples, but inside it's a deeper, lower ache. Heat agitates imagined slights. Why, instead, can't she see well-intentioned flashes of beauty in everyday gestures? Rob calls it, "purse-missing-time", the jest not so funny as she scours her bag at the checkout and feels the cashier's eyes burning, burning. All this month's small failures pile into one: the misconstrued email, the dispute with her daughter's teacher, the cat throwing up on her favourite rug because she hadn't placed the rubbish fully inside the bin, and the complaint at the swimming baths when she doggy paddled into someone else's lane. She back splashes through each second. It will dwindle. She clings to the thought like a person hugging an inflatable. Wait for the storm to pass. Breathe normally in the hiatus.


fiction by
Shirley Golden

image by
Maria Herbert-Liew