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“Hi, I’m Louise D’Arcy reading from my short story ‘Lilith Gets a Dog’.
Lilith, Alec and Marcy’s mother and Gerald’s wife, was standing on the front path surveying the lawn. She was thinking that if she were to step down off the path, lie down carefully in the flowerbed in front of the roses with her nose at ground level, every blade of grass would match perfectly in height with its neighbour, every shoot be equidistant. It occurred to Lilith that Gerald’s lawn was not so much a lawn as an exhibit. She sighed. To her ears the sigh was practised but no less deeply heart felt. She was fifty.
When she was thirty, Alec’s age, she’d been married for ten years. Alec himself was ten and exhibiting early signs of his inability to take the world seriously. She, Lilith, was working up her role as the mother mediator, negotiating and deal-brokering endlessly between a vocally non-plussed Gerald and his inexplicable son. Her 30th birthday had come and gone unremarked, beyond Gerald’s habitual box of chocolates and Alec’s open-eyed wonderment that mothers had birthdays, too.
Her 50th birthday had caused barely more of a stir. Alec’s present had as yet not eventuated and Gerald’s chocolates were long gone. Her late arriving daughter Marcy’s present was a subscription to a retirees magazine, a choice simultaneously well thought out (as all of Marcy’s actions were) and extremely thoughtless.
What she had wanted and didn’t get, was a dog. In fact, craved would describe the feeling more exactly. There was an empty space in her soul, a spare room kept in eternal fresh sheetedness for the visitor that would never come.
She knew Gerald didn’t believe in dogs. That dogs for him were lawn desecrators, disease carriers, useless consumers of food that could be better used in the third world. Nonetheless a dog remained a thing of exquisite yearning, a reward she would surely achieve if only the world were as it should be. It was with this dyspeptic mixture of longing and resignation that she got into her car and drove to work.”
ABOUT LOUISE D’ARCY:
“I’ve had stories published in magazines and anthologies in Australia and overseas. I won ‘The Age Short Story Award’ in 2010 and had a story in ‘Best Australian Stories 2010’.
I first came to Varuna on a regional writers masterclass and have since returned three times for a week’s writing time as an alumnus.” Louise D’Arcy
I’ve had stories published in a number of anthologies, including Overland, Redoubt, Etchings, Best Australian Stories, Visible Ink, Sleepers Almanac and Imago
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