Sunday, 16 June 2019

Write-In 2019: 'Cake' by Annette Edwards-Hill

Lydia opens the front door, it stretches from the floor to the roof.  The floor is marbled, the same pattern Leah gets on her legs when they are cold.

Lydia takes her through another doorway and down the stairs, the carpet is soft under her feet.

 The room is large and white, there’s the biggest piano she has ever seen in the corner. It is gleaming and as black as night. Leah stares.

 Lydia notices and says “The grand, I don’t really have anywhere else to put it.” She waves her hand as if to dismiss the piano.

Lydia takes Leah to a café, they meet a friend of Lydia’s who offers Leah a piece of cake. Leah looks at Lydia. Lydia’s lips are painted pink. She smiles at Leah “isn’t that nice to be offered some cake,” she says.

Leah pulls the plate towards her “just a little piece,” says Lydia.

Lydia’s friend has asked her a question and Leah hears Lydia whisper “just the weekends, her grandmother usually takes care of her, there are problems.”

At home Lydia asks if Leah wants to sit in the TV room which is not the same room that they eat dinner. Leah thinks of the room at home with the kitchen and the couch. With her mother lying in the dark with the TV on, and when she comes home from school on a good day, her mother asking in a dry voice “hi, how was your day?”

Back in the bedroom, Leah runs her hand over the grand. They have a piano at school, a tall wooden box in the hall, the surface scratched and the keys yellow.

She touches the keys, one by one, black then white. There is a knock on the door, she lowers the lid.

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