We were waiting at Salerno station for the train to Sicily when a woman on the opposite platform collapsed. Her husband held her head while she shuddered, her arm extended. It was the arm you see in Renaissance paintings, fearsome and knowledgeable. Men ran across the tracks to the couple. One held her legs up. Then her head fell to one side, her face went from white to blue, or purple, and her husband stood up, wailing, clutching a pillar. His scream chilled the entire station.
Every face turned. Fear percolated down the platform. A woman stroked her baby and turned away. Other women covered their mouths, their eyes wide. A sheet of death washed down the line, cold and impenetrable. So life can be like that! You can be waiting for the train to Rome and then you're gone, your hand pointing to your fate. Again the man called out, and again. Around her body a group of people clustered, one man desperately working on resuscitation. Then the train to Rome arrived. On our platform we sighed in relief, excused from having to see them. We moved from our frozen positions and tried to look somewhere other than at that part of the train. When it finally moved on, the cluster of people had gone, replaced by paramedics and the frantic husband, down on his knees now, fluttering around his wife's revived body as she tried to sit up, holding her hands and soothing her down. A paramedic dressed the wound on her head where she had fallen, and another listened to her heartbeat. More people arrived with a stretcher. Our platform relaxed, able to move, to check the indicator for our train. When I looked over again she wasn't there, her husband, the paramedics and the stretcher all gone.
A cleaner was climbing the stairs. He heaved a bucket up the last step, mopped the platform where the woman had been lying, and disappeared back down the stairs.
Kathy’s day job is editing and technical writing, but she also has a novel in the bottom drawer and a narrative non-fiction social history of Sydney emerging. She lives between Sydney and her farm at Gloucester. She blogs at http://kathyprokhovnik.com/ about the highs and lows of gardening.
My earliest memory is an aunt of no relation teaching me the birds and the bees. I can recall that lesson with remarkable lucidity.
The way it feels, sitting in the library courtyard, and seeing a baby sparrow at your feet, scavenging the crumbs from your crusty roll.
He used to pick me up in his car, a beat up Honda Civic.
‘You talk funny.’
We’re on the hillside. It’s recess. We’re playing with little toy dinosaurs. I am the orange one, my favourite, and you’re the blue.
There used to be a takeaway pizza restaurant on Waverley Road, where the tram ended. You weren’t really supposed to eat there, but the owner had put a little vinyl table by the window and there were four chairs and a holder in the middle for the serviettes.
We decide to go looking for the troll while fuelling ourselves with petrol-station hotdogs and strong kaffi and, in our excitement, forget to fill the car.
At night, if you’re sleeping on the top floor, floor fourteen, you might hear someone walking on the roof, over its gravel sheet.
There were three eulogies at my father’s funeral . . .
The trees here are white and skeletal – near Marysville where fire ripped through . . .
We met in 2003 at the Wickham Hotel in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, while he was on holiday. Tall, handsome, studying English and Korean at university.
We were waiting at Salerno station for the train to Sicily when a woman on the opposite platform collapsed.
We watched television while he bled out on the bed beside me. ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ – that rhetorical question that so many people still seem to get wrong.
Elijah is taken on a Monday.
See his kidnappers on the freeway. Holden Kingswood, old and brown. Two men with ponytails and tense expressions. It’s half past three. The road is teeming with cars. The cars are absolutely gleaming.
Enjoying Flashers mouth-sized bites of fiction? Now we are making something new.