Lindsay Grime + Alexandra Stewart

Jump

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

The dock was perfect for pulling off a long, flying leap into the sound. She gazes at it now, shaking out her little brown legs like a sprinter. Ten, maybe fifteen steps lie between her and splashdown, a far enough distance to pick up speed and launch out into the deeper water. She would have to make sure she didn’t land on that patch of fire coral, but that was all part of the thrill of the jump. It was the end of summer so she had to make it count; tomorrow her mother would have to go back to coaxing and threatening her out of bed, there would be last minute pencils to find and freshly buffed shoes to scuff in the dirt on the way to the car. Right now though, it was only the water that mattered and she had to do this properly.

She ran. One, two, three steps, the baking concrete pricking at the soles of her feet, hardened from weeks of living barefoot.
Four, five- her orange bathing suit turns her into a hot little fireball, frills kissing the air at her sides.
Six and a malevolent delight bursts across her face. A target has appeared. A school of fry etch nervously through the ripples of gold and green towards her.

Seveneightnineten… her long toes curl right at the edge of the dock for a final push.

Eeeeeleven!

She leaps!

All her sun-bleached hair, tangled and salt-stiffened, curves up through the hard afternoon light. Out she floats, tilting slightly sideways as she clasps her knees with one hand and pinches her nose with the other. The fry scatter under her shadow, flitting down and up, zigzagging away. For a heartbeat she fears she’s not going to make it; that stinging mass of red seems to be following her flight path, ready to snatch her straight out of the air. She drifts forward inch by inch, edging just out of the fire coral’s spongy reach.
Down she goes, a blonde and burning cannonball. The waters part and consume her, fill her ears with a cool and bubbly hum. The world has never seen such a splash. They’ll have to pick fish from the trees.

She opens her eyes because she can and stares at the fizz of white and green through the salt and sinks briefly before bobbing up to the surface, grinning.

Wedding Day

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

‘Can we expect you?’
‘I’ll certainly think about it,’ Abigail whispered, leaning in closer to her bedside table. The mouse-sized man frowned as he slid off her digital alarm clock.
‘What is there to think about? Either you come or you don’t.’
‘I have lectures on Friday afternoon. Plus it’s a lot to take in, learning there’s tiny people living in the walls of your crappy bedsit. We’ve been talking nearly an hour and I’m still having trouble believing it.’
‘I’ll try not to be offended.’
‘Sorry. I didn’t mean –’ He waved a delicate hand.
‘It is forgotten. But whether you come or not, Her Royal Highness was hoping you would supply the wedding cake. As a show of good faith.’
Abigail shifted under the duvet. What kind of wedding cake did such little people eat? She imagined them hacking with ice-picks at some tremendous white monstrosity, an avalanche of icing.
‘I am honored,’ she said quietly, ‘but I don’t know the first thing about baking for a royal wedding.’
‘You’ve baked before. Not two weeks ago. We – ’ he hesitated, a faint pink spread up from the embroidered collar of his coat. ‘We harvested some of the cakes you made. It looked like –’ he carved a shape out of the air with his hands, ‘and it was made of chocolate.’
‘A muffin?’ she asked incredulously. The mouse-sized man’s fingers flew to his ears and Abigail grimaced in apology. She lowered her voice, relieved she hadn’t eaten a dozen muffins in two days after all. ‘It’s a promise. Your Princess will have a spectacular muffin-cake, whether I attend her wedding or not.’ He bowed elaborately and Abigail’s lips twitched into a smile. ‘That’s the only reason I’ve been invited, isn’t it? she teased. ‘Soon you’ll have me baking muffins every day.’
He puffed out his tiny chest with a squeak of indignation.
‘Madam, this is a groundbreaking diplomatic outreach.’
He smoothed down the front of his coat and not for the first time Abigail marveled at the intricate weave of his clothing, the bright whorls and stripes. She thought of the beige walls of the lecture room and decided she could use a break from Sociology.
‘Well, I’m honored,’ she said. ‘I’ll come.’ The tiny man laughed and brought his hands together with a clap that didn’t reach Abigail’s ears. She extended her hand and he walked onto her palm. The softness of his steps tickled. Once lowered to the floor he gave another sweeping bow and disappeared through the hole in the skirting board. Abigail watched the space for a long time, trying to convince herself the last hour was only a hallucination. She turned out the light.
She tried to picture the wedding, the scurrying colours and the faint tinkle of bells. She wondered if they danced, if her misplaced Twix bar had been harvested for the rehearsal dinner. It was difficult to picture it all unfolding amongst the crowded mess of her bedroom floor. Abigail imagined the bride and groom picking their way across piles of discarded jeans, guests tripping over crumbs and old socks and she sighed.
She supposed she ought to tidy up tomorrow.