Backhand Stories: The Creative Writing Blog

It’s an old memory. Too old to upset.

I pressed the cool skin of her cheek with a plump, immature finger. Then traced the roots of her fixed lashes. I recalled the optimistic flourish of their application, leaning into the mirror, which itself leaned against the bedroom wall.

Should I pluck one, from a tented lid? No way, I wouldn’t dare. She’ll wake.

Then I peered along near perfect nostrils, rimmed red, and sore, dusted.

Why so tired, Mum?

I touched the dipped philtrum where she was joined, in the factory – that’s the joke we shared. Joined somewhere, with ideal symmetry.

Still silent.

I pushed the sheet aside, altered the balance of a limb. It reached out, fish-belly white, showing a fork of vein in the crook. Palpable, like the spider’s web in the book she read to me.

So I squeezed her forearm, soundlessly. Her hand semi-flexed. I’d tightened a tendon, without knowing it.

She’ll wake up now, and tickle me.

And I’ll make her squeal in return. I know her funny bones.

Then I pushed her cheek.

Then I pulled her hair.

Until she turned her head.

And gazed at me, endlessly.