you and me – POSTCARD #1
She was born on the shortest day of the year when he was finishing high school and beginning what would be his first marriage. The rusty iron fence that lines the property they live on irks her. She wonders how the neighbours stand it. She hears them talking sometimes. She hears the clinking of glasses and imagines the table is set with tablemats. Knives and forks that match. She hears the squeak of springs and breathless laughter and realizes the kids are on the trampoline. A Kingfisher lands on the fence and shrills at her. Shoo, she whispers, and presses her ear against the tin. She hears a baby crying from somewhere deep within the house. She hears the woman’s heels clicking down polished floorboards towards it. She holds her own flat stomach and leans against the fence. The screen door swings open behind her and the smell of cigarettes waft out. His fingers are yellow from years of them perching there. She follows him into the dim kitchen and sees he’s made her cake. It’s sunk in the middle where the words Sweet Sixteen have caved in. She says it doesn’t matter as he starts banging more eggs into bowls. These things, he says without looking up, are harder than they seem.