Sunday 26 June 2022

There Was a Message in the Bottle All Along by Elizabeth Leland, gin

             Daisy and I go out for air before bedtime. On a pavement bench I sit and pat my skirt. She jumps up. I tell her – my fond habitual comment – that she’s the best Jack Russell in the world.

       Above us the quarter moon curves round its own haze. The streetlights don’t quite block all the stars.

       ‘Vincent Van Gogh,’ my mother used to say, ‘cut his ear off.’ She poured clear London Dry and raised her glass. ‘Cheers. Ears.’ Or she announced, ‘Time for a military march. Chop chop!’ and strode, with a sway, round the living room.

       Daisy’s growl is quiet. A handsome Collie approaches, his shoulders and ears taut with interest. Daisy, less than half his size, takes agin him.

       A gin. My mother: a comedy drunk facing down her audience even when it was only me. She had no escape from my father until he decided to leave us, and then no choice but life with me, a silent, critical daughter.

       I let Daisy jump off my lap. On her lead she jogs along and turns us towards home. I try never to make her stay where she doesn’t want to be.


About the author

 Elizabeth Leyland writes long and short fiction and lives in the UK. She has been published by CafeLit and Fairfield Scribes.

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