Click on the arrow above to listen to Rebekah’s reading.
“Hi, I’m Rebekah Clarkson and this is the beginning of my short story, Raising Boys —
‘Bins are up.’ It came out of Malcolm’s mouth half whisper, half question. His wife was sitting on the edge of their bed, picking at something on her heel and she nodded absentmindedly.
Malcolm had left taking them up later than usual, to the last task of the evening, until there was nothing left; Martin was in bed, his lunch box packed, computer shut down, dog locked in the laundry.
He’d seen that Mary’s blue and yellow bins were already sitting at the top of her driveway, all clean and symmetrical.
‘Theresa, I didn’t take Mary’s bins up tonight.’ Confessional; his voice cracked on ‘Mary’s’.
His wife looked up quizzically. ‘Oh for god sake’s, Malcolm.’ She stood from the bed and ran her hands roughly through her recently layered hair. She turned to look at him directly and he felt his facial muscles contract with a kind of desperation.
She said his name again, urgently this time, like step one in emergency first aid, but then her voice dropped and became lazy as if she didn’t care whether he lived or not after all, ‘oh…’ she said, ‘you’re so… ’
He watched her closely, his eyes widening for what, but Theresa looked away, started collecting her clothes ready for the next day; black pants and a green cotton shirt – she’d put all her work skirts in the Salvo’s bin on the weekend after one of the boys had pointed out her ankles. Normally – Malcolm knew well after almost thirteen years of marriage – Theresa didn’t mince words or leave them hanging like that. She wasn’t afraid to call a spade a spade. It was one of the things he’d found appealing about her, in the beginning. It had been such a relief just to have things said, out in the open, although he still didn’t like the way she called it sex. Malcolm had persisted, almost stubbornly, with lovemaking.
Was Theresa just sick of him? Malcolm began unlacing his tan Florsheim shoes with a heaviness that extended right into his fingertips and he sighed several times from the effort. Had he let both of them down – his wife and his son? He knew he’d let Mary down: truth be known, Malcolm was thinking of little else. He was reluctant now to get into bed, afraid to feel the curve of Theresa’s back against him, the hint of her thighs tucked away from him, to be left, in the darkness, with himself.”
ABOUT REBEKAH CLARKSON:
Rebekah Clarkson’s short stories, articles and poetry have been published in journals, anthologies, newspapers and magazines, and read on radio. She is a past winner of the HQ/Varuna short story competition and has had stories shortlisted in competitions run by the SA Writers’ Festival, The Adelaide Review/University of Adelaide and Wet Ink/CAL. She has a BA in Aboriginal Studies and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide. She is now working towards a PhD, specializing in short stories.
Rebekah was the recipient of a Regional Writers’ Fellowship at Varuna in 2004 with her novel manuscript Kikuyu. She spent another week there in 2009 as a paying resident. In 2008 she was lucky enough to spend three weeks at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland, as part of the Varuna alumni exchange program.
“Varuna is a gift – time to write, space to think, a beautiful environment, extraordinary people to meet. I feel so privileged to have spent time there.” Rebekah Clarkson
May Twentieth, Writers Radio, Radio Adelaide July 18, 2011
Barking Dogs, Wet Ink, Issue 23 2011
My 53rd Summer, The Adelaide Review, Issue 362 2010
The Roses, in The Modern Woman’s Anthology 2010, Sydney, Palmer Higgs Publishing
On the Brink, Wirra Wirra Short Story Anthology, Seaview Press 2009
Morning Tea, Etchings Journal Issue 4, Melbourne, Ilura Press 2007
My Eighth Autumn (Abridged), Adelaide, The Advertiser Review, Summer Reading Edition 2007
My Eighth Autumn, Etchings Journal Issue 1, Melbourne, Ilura Press 2006
The Curse, in Forked Tongues, Adelaide, Wakefield Press 2002
Forked Tongues, Anthology (Co-edited) Adelaide, Wakefield Press 2002
This Women’s Work – Can women have it all? Sydney, HQ Magazine Issue 94 2002
The Blue Suitcase, HQ Magazine, Sydney 2001
Varuna has been funded by the Australia Council to produce a Varuna Writer-a-Day “app”. When we have recorded 365 writers the app will be made available via the iTunes store. In the meantime, if you subscribe to this free blog, you can receive a daily reading delivered to your email inbox which can also be directed to your mobile phone.