KYLIE THOMAS’S CHILDREN had been on the roof since early morning. She had heard them, vaguely, tapping at the edges of her consciousness, as she tried to hold on to sleep, even as it disappeared. She loved sleep, loved the act of being unconscious to pain, to trouble, to each and every tap that felt like a demand. Children wanted everything! All the time, all at once! If she’d realised what a child was before she accidentally made one, she would have run a mile. She would have run so fast that Russell Woodbridge would never have caught her, would never have kissed her rushing-by face or grabbed her flying-in-the-wind hair. His skinny white body would never have pinned her flat.
She heard Nixon crying. Bloody Nixon, born whinger, crying when he came out, starting as he meant to go on. Nixon, her first born, skinny and long as a rabbit, crying on the roof. Why not cry in the kitchen instead? On the floor, where he usually laid himself, full-length in front of the fridge to be exact, his mouth open so that you could see the black pit leading into his gullet. Sometimes she wondered what she could stuff in there to stop the sound: honey? Lollies? Her fist? He had the largest pair of tonsils she had ever seen: two fat glistening nubs of flesh decorating either side of his throat, two undulating, pulsing, alien attachments that fascinated her. Whoever thought tonsils could appear so alive, so full of their own intentions? At least, she assumed they were his tonsils – she couldn’t think of what else they might be. She knew she didn’t know much about anything, not really, so now she thought about it she wasn’t even sure they were tonsils.
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