by Magda Hughes
This doesn’t begin with a jolting mini bus and a heavy backpack, squeezing between passengers and seats. It doesn’t start with one hundred half-sleeping humans rattling around an empty airport lounge; 3am and every counter closed, fluorescent lights flickering, humid air seeping in from the darkness outside.
From a plane at night, cities looks like islands, with roads making bridges to smaller islands. Floating in the blackness.
It starts with soft fabric smelling like it had been draped over a corduroy couch for 2 weeks, in a room where people smoke and should open the windows more often. Fabric that smelt like unwatered plants and unwashed paintbrushes. Like mdma kept in small draws and glowing red bedside lamps. It starts with skateboards and backup skateboards. A kitchen only used for coffee, ginger tea and muesli, with an ashtray and some sandwich ingredients.
Autumn leaves and sun blow onto the balcony. With the wind comes red petals and the reminder that autumn is colour and autumn is death.
The sun reaches the bed in the late afternoon, and the grey stripped walls fake gold at the end of the day. We came and went on a yellow staircase, taking off or putting on denim coats that soaked up cigarette smoke. Ashing joints on our laps and repeating dry 80’s lyrics to sharp 90’s techno.
It starts in a house that keeps the cold in. It starts when you vomited and blamed it on the sun, saying you’d stayed in it too long. I felt sick too, that we’d seen so much of each other and forgotten so much more.
In a house that keeps no time, in a room with an open window and closed curtains, we waited.
“How do you feel?”
“Soft. I feel soft. And you feel soft.”
Plum + Rose Petal Jam
She told me Red Bull is good for you.
And I believed her, because she was beautiful.
She laughed and I didn’t hear her joke
But I smiled because when she smiled
Her eyes were the exact shape of dolphins.
She eats animals and I won’t buy leather
But she cuddles cats and presses flowers
I have no words and she has plans.
She knows the detail of the middle,
and I know the blank space of the edge.
She gave me plum and rose petal jam.
I gave her the gaps of what I couldn’t say,
Sticky and sweet in her presence.
Magda has been published in the Tenderness Journal, Marathon and Junkee. She is a soon to be lawyer and a dedicated mountain climber.