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An autumn afternoon

In Pip on August 2, 2008 at 3:51 pm

It put Pip off his search.

The little boy’s grave.

1972-1983.

Black with gold inlay.

And the father’s name scratched out.

He wondered how he had not noticed it before. This little boy’s grave. With the father’s name scratched out, but its shadow left behind. And Pip stood in front of it for some amount of time between three minutes and a year, his hands in his pocekts, the autumn sun on the back of his neck and the gentle shuffling sounds of the other kids’ whirligigs whistling through his ears.

A parrot.

A crow. Two. Three.

A lorikeet.

Cars at ten kilometres an hour.

Pip needed to make his decision today and so he tried not to see the mother dressed in purple and black, her back hunched and her shoulders curled as she cursed the rising sun which lit the shadow of the name. The name etched more deeply into her heart than into the stone.

The sound of her frantic scratching ripped through the drying grass. The sound of her sobs dripped from the trees. And the stench of her anger gave life to his own, so that once again it snaked its way out of his bones and coiled itself around him head to toe, and wound itself in and out of the days that would come to make up weeks that he would come to waste on deep breaths and sharp words and bitten fingernails.

And the search he thought today would end had only just begun.

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