The scent of cut grass and creosote, the colour of the ocean after a storm, vanilla, the soft sourdough of the baby’s neck.
The oyster slick of Andrew as he slides down your throat, the taste of yourself on his hands, frozen margaritas in a kidney-shaped pool.
Sun-bleached images of the baby’s tilting totter listing towards you like a lush, oxeye daisies and dandelions in overgrown grass, chipped diamonds encircling your finger like a manacle.
The taste of proper coffee, desiccant and viscous, sexy dancing to the Rolling Stones, a silent look that quells your happiness, as dry as the coffee you drink.
The day they place the baby in your arms, slippery with blood and mingled sweat, the look on Andrew’s face – not pride but triumph, not joy but something altogether ugly.
The heft of Andrew on your chest as he spreads you like a heifer, as he batters down the bulwarks, forces his way back in. The feel of his hands on your throat, the whisper in your ear, the knowledge that escape was only ever fleeting.
Drowning is silence, to drown is relief. The water holds you up and you let go of gravity, the weight of the sky on your back, the bloom of bruising along your collar-bone and ribs, the taste of failure. You think of that last summer, of dancing in body-con with unsuitable men, drinking too much tequila, walking home barefooted and gleeful. You think of the baby’s hand in yours, of his small voice and Shar Pei skin, of staying in bed all day eating Jaffa Cakes and cheese puffs. You think of freedom, you think of freed, you think of fr…
Author Bio: Maria Thomas is a middle-aged, apple-shaped mum of two. She has work in EllipsisZine, Funny Pearls, Levatio, Fiery Scribe Review, Paragraph Planet, VirtualZine, Free Flash Fiction, Punk Noir, Roi Faineant Press, Cape Magazine, Story Nook and (upcoming) Punk Monk. Maria won Retreat West’s April 2022 Micro competition. She can be found on Twitter as @AppleWriter.