Friday, August 7, 2015

First Word: Ellen Hawkin: Flood

Waters rising, sink overflowing, feet in murky water, dirty water. She grabs a towel and leans on a cupboard and works her way forward, towards the door where water gushes round, but the door won’t budge. She’s trapped inside, water rising, brown dirty water. She jerks her head up, spies open rafters, reaches up, climbs onto the counter and she’s trapped, water rising. A nightmare; the water slowly subsiding as dawn surfaces, warm, sticky, breathless fear and her head’s spinning but she’s dry, mostly, the sheets damp and smelling of concrete and apple juice and has she been drinking? Did she knock over that glass, cause all this panic?
            In relief she laughs out loud and disturbs her husband who growls and she breathes a shallow breath and waits for his breathing to settle and with relief she hears him snuffle and turn over and now both he and the flood have found a comfortable place at the bottom of a trough, a plastic sheet lining its wooden sides. Water trickles down the sides, melts into the plastic lining and runs, gaining strength, as it gushes past her and she sits up, face screaming, hands over mouth to stop the noise but there’s only silence and the steady breathing of her husband and nothing left but the memory of a dream she thought she had conquered years ago. What sparked this recurrence? Menopause? Surely not. Menopause is a pause, not a state of being. How will she sleep? How will she find her way into bed each night and settle to sleep when she knows the flood is waiting for her?

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