The up and down nature of ladders

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  • Published 20130604
  • ISBN: 9781922079978
  • Extent: 288 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

MARY AND I spend a long time tying the sign on the hood of her rusty station wagon. It has taken me days to paint the big board and we most definitely don’t want it to fall off on the way to Red Hill. I climb onto the bonnet and wrap my masterpiece in an old army blanket, tucking it in tightly as if it was a toddler in her first bed. Then we wind down the windows and Mary passes the rope through and I sling it across the top for her to grab. We do this four times, then one more time just to be sure. But when Mary gives the blanket an experimental push the whole thing lurches drunkenly across the hood and we have to undo the ropes and start again.

‘Hooray!’ Mary cries when it’s done, pushing back the long strands of hair that have stuck to her face. She smiles at me and everything about her is shining – white teeth, pink cheeks, black hair.

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