Monday, 20 June 2022

'Never pause on page eleven' by Joyce Bingham

“Tea is ready.”

Sylvia jams her bookmark into the page, her mother’s voice is rising through octaves, Silvia shivers, she is in trouble.

The last word she read has a rich sound to it, the p sounds, a rolling r, making it a delight. Purple, she thinks, how delightful it would be to have purple pudding for tea. When she reaches the table, her bowl is filled with blueberry yoghurt.

“I’ve given the kale and gorgonzola pie to the birds.” Her mother says without a blink.

Her mother has a magenta wave of blusher on each cheek. Her violet eyes darker than usual, her hair plum. Sylvia shrugs, her mother is always experimenting, at least her hair is not green again.

Sylvia takes her blackcurrant juice to the garden, where the lavender flowers and the lilac trees are in full bloom. In the sunlight her dark dress is a vibrant magenta and a purple emperor butterfly flits past. Trying to catch the butterfly Sylvia trips and falls, the pain in her legs and arms glows with flowering bruises. 

She limps into the house, her mother is sitting in the sofa, the purple chenille cover creeping along her arms and legs, the silk fringe crossing her eyebrows.

Sylvia screams and runs upstairs, she opens the book reads on, finishing page eleven. She closes the book with a thump, her bookmark flutters to the floor.

“Sylvia come and eat your pie, be sure to finish page eleven first.”

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