Sam sees the flint head. Its fish-like shape reminds him of cat biscuits. The glass case steams up as his breath pours a fog across the surface and the flint head swims away. Salt water slides down his cheeks until he licks a drop. Eyes squeeze, heart pumps, his pulse bounces like a ball thudding - don’t, don’t, don’t. Jack watches, “Are you crying?” His whisper crackles like static. His fish hook smile is close to Sam’s cheek. Mum said count to 10. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10..” 10 bored school children, 10 washed out yawns. Mrs Keel’s T-shirt has 10 flowers on it. She’s too far away to see. Always too far away to see. To see the scrape of a heel down Sam’s shins, the pinch of overweight hands on Sam’s flesh. Maybe she needs glasses – mum says lots of people need glasses.
Sarah Richmond