Floodloss

Words || Leith Reid

She gets home first, finds their garage floor covered with mud, inches thick, creased and rumpled like the rug they’d been fooling around on in the park, just yesterday. The stench thick with memories of dog kennels and bin day.

She surveys the sad cardboard boxes spilling swollen books. Her childhood photographs caked with mud, aged beyond their years, milky with cataracts. She picks one up to try and wipe the mud from her mother’s face, and instead wipes her mother from the photograph. She Googles 'how to save flood damaged books and photos'.

When he gets home with the high-pressure hose, he finds ice-cube trays out on the bench, melting to water, the frozen peas soft. The freezer is full of wet photographs in ziplock bags. There she is: a toddler baking with her mother and her big sister. A teenager, on the beach, hanging out the driver-side window of a bright orange 4-wheeled drive giving someone (probably her Dad) the thumbs up.

Outside, the stairs are covered in his books, stood up on their bases, pages fanned, paper towels slipped lovingly between the pages like love notes or pressed flowers. He trips on No Country for Old Men, carefully wiping the cover with his t-shirt before placing it back on the stairs.