light dripped off her fingers

by uzwi

The door had dropped on its hinges a decade before. Anna dragged it open. Two or three houses’ worth of garden furniture and tools met her gaze. Tim had liked to garden. From an early age, Marnie had liked to help. They had liked to be in the garden together, around the flowerbeds or the kidney-shaped pond, while Anna watched with a drink. Deckchairs, sunshades, long-handled pruners. Marnie’s quite expensive ping-pong table. Then, in the shadows, shelves full of half-used garden chemicals. The chemical smells of dusts and powders, spilled across the floor or gone solid in their tins and packets. Then the smell of cardboard boxes, lax with damp, bulging with everything from photograph albums to ornaments. Something was spilling off the shelves, in a shower of fantastic sparks! They were just like the sparks from a firework! They paled slowly but didn’t fade. Anna approached. She let them fall through her upturned hands. She sat on the floor and sifted through them like a child. Light dripped off her fingers, soft-feeling embers, objects like cool sachets of gel, the neon colours of the organs the cat brought in. After a time these colours leached away, just exactly like heat from embers, to leave a drift of small objects she could barely make out in the dark. Anna sorted through them. She turned them over uncomprehendingly. She found a shoebox, green, a trusted brand, and shovelled them into it. Opening the summerhouse door she had thought she heard sounds: laughter, music, the smells of fried food, alcohol and human excitement in a seaside at night. She rubbed the palm of her left hand with the thumb of her right. Presently, she went outside and looked across the river pasture, where her own running footprints made an erratic track through the thick dew. [Empty Space, pp29/30.]