I still haven’t decided on which title. Whichever fits snuggest, when all is done. I’m putting up this snippet as another reminder to myself how far I’ve made it – how much the book has changed already, from when it was a fantastical desert-set piece, to this. Still a long way to go. In this part, the main character, Aida, is at a low point, far from home and alone on Christmas day. She begins to come around when she thinks back to her childhood, the narrative switching to second person to reflect this distancing and awareness (hopefully it achieves this).
One word for those who know me – Non-autobiographical!
Draw the curtains, Aida, keep back the light. Walk with your voice back to your cousin, your role model, going towards a receding tide over gleaming rocks, with the light on your shoulder, and everything clear, children shouting to one another. Hurry up, you were always so slow, lethargic, delicate, putting on your clothes, though at that point no one outside the family had ever removed them from you. The purity exists not in the body of the girl you were, nor in memory. You were crude and dirty and stupid, but also you loved your mum, and hated her, when she was there to be loved and hated. You made eyes. You prodded around in the mud. You put the dinner on which was fish fingers and peas, with Maud monitoring the water, lighting the gas. You strove to make. You admired those who tried to obvious effect or none. Plurality exists. Possibility, that this past moment still enacts in you a brightness, a seaside blistering cold.
“The lido’s closed, Mum,”
“Well, there’s the whole sea, still open for business.”