She had darkly freckled hands. Her fingers had the weight of age. She counted her change as though she wore gloves, but her hands were naked – bare, naked, elderly flesh exposed at the end of blue lace arms. I loved her then because she had never seemed stranger to me. After we left the shop and were out on the street again, I spoke, making sure to stand on the left-hand side of her body as I did so.
“You smell of death and talcum powder,” I said right into her engorged ear. The ear, like the nose, never stops growing. Sometimes it looks as if her whole head has shrunk. Both of us get shorter by the year. I need to buy new shoes, having in-grown my old ones. She has lost her hearing on her left side, so it is there, in her left ear, that I keep my secrets. This one is fresh, but there are others in there, hard as old cocoons. Her ear has been known to rattle. Judging by the sound, I’d say it’s full of Kirby grips and milk teeth that have accrued over the years. If I held her upside down and shook her, secrets would clatter to the ground, like when a piggy bank is emptied, coin by coin.
Dulcie Few writes very short fiction. She has been published in Flash, Leaf and the Quick Fictions app. She lives in London and works as a Speech and Language Therapist. Twitter: @dulcivida