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Page 2

Janice Florence

Rose didn’t want the box of humble treasures locked away in the tin shed at the end of the yard, but she said nothing.

“You don’t want these old shoes, do you?”

Bronnie held up a pair of battered blue runners. 

They had sentimental value for Rose but she knew her tender feelings would get no sympathy from Bronnie.

“No, I don’t”.

Bronnie dumped them in the bin.

She remembered a story that Bronnie had once told her about her mother. When she was a teenager her mother had purged Bronnie’s wardrobe and sent a pile of her things to the op shop. Bronnie, enraged, took revenge by stealing an armful of her mother’s things and sent them to the same op shop. With inherited ruthlessness Bronnie continued her noisy subjugation of the back porch.

Chris wafted through the door. There was a vague, pleasant distance in his eyes. There was a habitual ghost of a smile on his lips. His hair was fair and clipped. He wore a beard. He radiated a softness that flowed around Bronnie’s obvious irritation like an elusive mist.

“ Hi Bronnie.” He called. Things existed for him as they interested him. At the moment Rose didn’t.

“Come here and help me clean up this mess.”

“Darling, I just got home. I’m tired and anyway, I have to meditate.”

“You spent two hours at it this morning. You woke me up at 5 o’clock. You went to a meditation retreat last weekend. What about the housework?”

“But darling, I often do housework. I cook and I’m always cleaning up the kitchen.”

“Chris is probably cleaner than both of us.” said Rose. Bronnie looked at her coldly. Rose realised it was a mistake to interrupt a couple in the middle of their ritual sparring.

“He never washes the floor. I am always doing that. I’m sick of it”

Rose was silenced by guilt. Her work-damaged hands and arms were often so painful she couldn’t steer a mop or broom.

“Anyway, carrying on like this just makes everyone feel bad” said Chris.

“They should feel bad.”

“I still think a roster would make things simpler.”

“They never work. I hate them. They’re boring.”

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