1878 The cart rattles by the front door carrying milk she can’t afford. Hunger drowned out by children playing on the cobbles. She pours day old madness from the tea pot. Closing her eyes by the cold hearth, when she wakes it will be Friday. 1995 She tries not to look too long, taunted by the full-length mirror. Breathing in flattens her stomach, hip bones jut painfully against jeans that cost the earth. Three more pounds will make the difference. Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. 2022 There is one packet left in the cupboard, not enough to split between two children. She could cook from scratch, she could earn more, shop smarter, budget better. She would still be hungry.
I cast my expert eye over unearthed treasure. ‘What a great find, it looks old!’ The delicate pink and red flowers on the tiny shard of long-lost best china. Plucked from between rocks, shells and the seaweed, that makes us all wary of what else lies hidden. More prizes uncovered: a glass bottle, almost perfect, shells with unexpected colours. Gathered into a backpack, nestled among a flask of half-drunk tea and just-in-case sunscreen. The creeping waves return to reclaim the undiscovered, scouring precious patterns paler with sand and salt. Pushing us higher onto the rocks, towards home where our hoard will nestle in bed-side boxes of childhood joy.
Lisa Rea Currie is an emerging writer from Northern Ireland. In her day job she works in heritage and themes of place and past often appear in her writing. Her work has appeared in Black Nore Review and The Storms.She tweets at @LisRea