Breakfast with Sarah
by Dina Lynskey
She will not talk to me. Despite wheedling and begging and crying, she simply will not talk. Her voice, usually as clear and loud as church bells, does not reverberate around these walls any more.
I ask, brandishing bread and jam like a showstopper. She dismisses me with a wave of too-thin wrists, bares her teeth as a demonstration of her absorption elsewhere. I wander away and make toast for myself instead, wafting butter and strawberry jam smells through this clutter-packed house to smooth away the stale tobacco she pulls at when she strikes mute again. I have seen her glow away from here, not brash lights but fine, fine lamp-glints strung between branches at Christmas. I fuse her. I shatter glass like cheap crackers.
She whispers, standing in the doorway. Slouch-limbed and messy, she holds her hand outwards in a gesture of exasperation and her voice is small and hoarse from the quiet. There is rain outside. It rails against the window unexpectedly, and we both turn to look. I remember the feel of her skin against my hand, the coolness of her thumbs needling into my back; the look on her face when I pushed her against that tree and kissed her. It was an expression I haven’t seen since, not on anyone’s face. Red-faced and giggling, picking bark out of chocolate hair.
She says again, stronger and with meaning. As she barges past, I smell the air around her; soil and smoke. Winter.