FLASH FICTION:“YOUR LOVE is better than ice-cream,” she hummed to herself as she set the table with bowls, plates, cups and saucers. She was content and I couldn’t really remember her being like that for such a long time. I don’t know if she had ever noticed but I did. When she hummed, everything was okay.

I pressed my crayon against the paper to pick up the lines in the wood. The paper became covered in small lumps and lines, like when I had chicken-pox and scratched it. I liked hearing her hum. It meant that I could risk a question. Any question. A question on something that I had wanted for a long time. The question rising like sap climbing the bamboo in spring and greening its stem. Waiting for the right time. The good time. The God Time as she called it in her holier moments.

I had peeled the crayons, preferring the waxy feel to the dry paper that made my hands sore. The wax was cool and smooth. Like my grandmother’s cheek when I kissed it in the hospital the evening she died. Waxy. I was drawing a picture of the town clock but it wasn’t coming out right. I wanted to show all four faces at once and how they all said a different time. Instead, it just looked like four clocks with nothing to link them together. I stopped and decided to draw a horse instead. Pink with green hair on its mane and tail. My Little Pony.

Pleased with this, I picked up the page and stuck it to the wall with stickystuff.

She was still humming as the eggs spat and cracked in the pan from the bacon fat and water. She scraped at them with the lifter and then I heard the humming stop. Feeling my chance slip away, I held my breath.

“Marina?” I called her name.

She pushed the dark coil of hair back from her face and frowned at me. Now in her full attention, my voice faltered. I had wanted to ask if we could go to the park. I had wanted to ask if we could take Tricksie to the beach. I had wanted to ask if she could ask Mummy if we could go to town on Saturday.

Now, faced with the dark eyes, eyebrows thick across her forehead, mouth pinched to almost nothing. And no humming.

I opened my mouth to say something.

What? she demanded crossly.

“Do you like my picture?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied, scraping the pan’s coated surface and bursting the egg yolk.

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