- Vol. 09
- Chapter 03
The thick slabs of filo that wouldn’t separate for us sit hotly inside the middle of me. Slowly, in the oven, the layers come apart, layer by buttery layer, expanding to fill the whole of me, oozing the white and green of ricotta and spinach.
It’s almost as if I am in a hot bath, except the hot bath is inside me.
Relax, the black-haired mermaid says, looking like a prettier sister to me, breasts like bells, held aloft, swung.
My toenails are red and make me feel sexy, un-dough-like, filo-less. The seals are grey, hydrophobic skin taut and rubbery, whiskers like Poirot.
My unborn white-haired child sits on the edge of the tub, looking out at sea. She knows I am unmothering her as we speak. A seal moans into the greying air.
The cliffs are jagged yet soft. The sky a forgotten watercolour.
The yellow duck is our dog's plaything—bright, alive, happy still.
The tub, once sun-lit, is filling with algae, seaweed. I can barely see my flesh.
The mermaids look at me with the dark eyes of seals. In the distance, the cliffs now look like bleached bone.
The filo comes out of the oven crispy, too rich, and leaves me greasy inside. I wash it down with a second cup of coffee.
I drain the lukewarm water from the tub.
It is a new year.
I know what I don’t want to eat again.