• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 07
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Wash, Rinse, Dry


The day was long. A summer of flies and heat. Of dust, rising. In the meadow, you played in the long grass, chasing butterflies while the bees buzzed somewhere. Arms and legs scratched and bloodied by grass and thorns.

Overhead, around mid-day, she had pointed at the sky and told you to, ‘Look! Look!’

A bird there, hovering in the blue, and the white, white glare of a summer high sun. You had to squint to see it.

‘A kite,’ she said.

You shook your head. Because a kite has a sting. A kite is yellow and has a shape you cannot name. Neither circle nor square. Funny that she should not know this.

And then, it is over too soon. Back home, she said, ‘time to wash the day off,’ and you had wanted to run, because the dirt and the dust and the blood were all too perfect.

And again, why did she not understand this?


The smell of soap. Creamy and perfumed. Lavender filling the room. You close your eyes and breathe it in. Breathe in the day again, the smells of summer, while she touches your skin. The gentle smoothing away of dirt and dust and blood, not as bad as you feared.


Wash, Rinse, Dry

You watch as she massages your feet. Listen, as she hums a tune. A tune you do not know. And you imagine the notes coming together to form a shape in the sky. The shape of a kite. A kite with a string.

Then the music ends with a kiss brushed on your forehead, and a clear water splash as she rinses away the silky film of lavender which clings to your toes.


She does not rub. She pats. Softly. Slowly. The day washed away. Rinsed and dried. But not gone. The smell of it. The sound of bees. An unfamiliar tune, hummed. Notes rising. Any one of these things can take you there.

Back to that day. Long, dusty, the sun white and high. Her voice calling out to you.

‘Look! Look!’

And you raise your eyes to the sky each time and look up. And sometimes, sometimes, you see her there. A shape, in the sky, you cannot name.