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Hi, my name is Deborah Rice. My short story Foil was the winner of the University of Canberra short story competition a few years back.
This is how it starts.
“I am aluminium foil: I am bright and clean and shining. But not today.
This time, a bowl broke and I didn’t mean it to. Or I sort of didn’t meant it to. Part of me had always wanted to smash the bloody thing because it didn’t fit into the fridge, but it was Alex’s favourite – one of those revolting turned-clay home-glazed numbers. Anyway, it slipped, and that’s all.
The peace of sleep had smoothed the muscles underneath my skin. They had forgiven me for last night. But Alex woke to the smash, tight all over, and threw himself into the hallway.
I tried to look him in the eye, but kept being drawn back to the pattern the pieces had made: shattered daisies drying on the leaf-mould lino.
“You’ve been hanging out to do that.”
I couldn’t argue with him. The flowers wouldn’t let me go. They slowed my pulse and stifled my breath and stopped my heart.
“First last night, now this. I should have seen it coming.”
Without lifting my face, I knew the tendons around Alex’s jaw had woven and twisted, the veins had clotted around his neck.
My heart began to pound.
This was not a good spot. Not a good spot, in the kitchen, with the door still deadlocked from last night. A second, two seconds, I thought I’d worked it out: the key, the lock, the door flying open … but as I calculated I caught sight of the garbage bin beyond the window, blocking the side passage.
“I’m sorry about the bowl, Alex, I’m really sorry. I was just getting some breakfast. It’s all right, head back to bed, I’ll clean it up.”
I pulled a face – ha ha, stupid me…
I am aluminium foil: lightweight, laughing.
I danced around a bit, hoping he’d laugh too. Sometimes he did. But not this morning.
“Alex, Please! Don’t…”
But he was already at me, twisting my arm up behind my back.
And then it came.
He loves me; he loves me not…
Each bruise was a petal. A gift from my whiplash lover, to add to the flowers on the floor.”
ABOUT DEBORAH RICE:
Deborah Rice is a senior Reporter and Presenter with ABC News in Sydney. She holds an MA Writing from UTS. The first piece she wrote while at UTS, “Foil”, won the University of Canberra Short Story Competition (Tertiary) in 2001. Since then, Deborah has been working on two novels – one a comedy of manners, the other a tale of political intrigue set in Australia in the dying days of the Cold War. Deborah’s writing is a creative response to her experiences over more than 20 years as a journalist, covering major events across the nation and engaging with its people. You can follow her on Twitter @deborah_rice.
“I was at Varuna for a Professional Development Residency in 2007. While there, I forged close bonds with the other writers attending the Residency and together we formed a group called “The Darklings”. We continue the Varuna tradition by giving each other feedback and support in our writing endeavours.” Deborah Rice
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