Gobstopper by Roberta Lawson

Mummy says I am: pretty as a princess, a child model to be. How I pose, how I prance, how I am praised. Let me tell you that my favourite things are the giddy glass jars of Harrods jellybeans brought back special the day after mum and dad’s trip to Amsterdam, the foot-long fizzing sherbet straws on Sunday afternoons, playground hopscotch, and that my boyfriend’s mouth tastes like tomato soup and sand. One day we’ll marry. He brings me roses and I press them between the pages of my memory book, smiling out of the window. Let me tell you about jam-jam-strawberry-jam-what-is-the-name-of-your-young-man. He is named Milo! Let me tell you about the wobbly rainbow bubbles from my bubble wand, about warm sudsy baths and mummy’s gentle touch on my hair as she washes it clean, eases out the knots. Let me tell you about the post office on Saturday mornings, how I dance from the awful line of waiting grandmas, how I am pretty as can be – I must be always pretty. And on the long grey windowsill lives a half-dead woodlouse, shiny black horrible. Let me tell you (not mummy, only you,) how I lift it in my hand, and how the woodlouse climbs inside of me – all wriggling legs, all tickly antennae. Let me tell you how the woodlouse makes its home – horrible black – down inside of me, pretty me. Some things I hardly tell anybody.


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Filed under Roberta Lawson

3 responses to “Gobstopper by Roberta Lawson

  1. Great voice, the conspiratorial second-person, and great finsh. Love how I can’t her actual age, or if her actual age and mental age don’t match.

  2. Yeah, I found the age ambiguous as well… Not sure if physical or mental age is the same. The ending contrasted so bleakly with all the “pretty” reference. Nicely written.

  3. Pingback: Week #23 – long lines « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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