The Wednesday I Never Existed

Reilly Jenkins likes the way things are in her humble town of Gordon, living in a house as rickety as a railway with two beefy parents where the weather can change with a click of a finger. When Reilly goes to bed like usual on an ordinary Tuesday night, she wakes on no ordinary Wednesday. Suddenly everything changes. Her parents think she's the neighbour, her school teacher's forgot her name and her entire life is turned upside down, her identity falling from her grip like loose change from your pockets.

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1. That feeling you get when soda sits in your stomach

You know that feeling you get when your soda sits on the very bottom of your stomach and you can't stand up straight with doubling over again, your face glowing like a green traffic light. I've had that feeling but worse.

***

I live in Gordon. It’s a tight town of streets, the roads corkscrewed into avenues or keyholes, lined with cosmic houses where those roads can lunge over a hill and slur into farmlands, hill to hill painted beautiful custard yellow with canola feilds. We only have a strain of paved streets and even those are crumbling and people are always limping from the unevenness. There's a path I follow to school that when it reaches the Manruse High boundaries, it crooks around like a fringe behind an ear and snakes through town.
Winter in Gordon is like a pinch on the ear. It’s the worst time and takes a while to get through when it’s as cold as it gets here.
Each morning of winter, Gordon sits beneath a curtain of fog but the sun always heckles its way down through it by noon. It’s hard to do schoolwork with swollen thumbs, and although I ask my mother to keep me at home, she makes up some excuse to hand me over to the teachers.
My mother is very fat, I’m not afraid to say. She has a head is like a cream-coloured plate with eyes and ears and a mouth and so on. She never wears shorts in summer because her thighs are embarrassing. So as she sits in the twelve-o’clock shadow on a beach chair by our lemon tree, the sweat drips down her nose like she’s a melting ice cube. I’m not fat any-hoo. Ever since I understood what was wrong with mum’s size, I was cautious of how much cereal I put in my bowl each morning. My father is fat as well. He's pretty old-fashioned, tucked behind a rhombus shaped moustache, wears v-neck sweaters and hates the very thought of infomercials.

“Go get the mail!” Mum rasped from the living room. Her deep, scornful voice rocketed down the corridor. I lagged down the staircase and down through the flyscreen. The day was hot, much hotter than what the weather man said. He has no idea what he was talking about. The searing wind got underneath my shorts and made me sweat like there was sticky glue melting in my underwear. I obeyed, burning my fingertips as I reached in the mailbox. Three letters.
I hippety-hopped back inside, the soggy air conditioner blowing through my hair.

“Took you long enough!” Mum spat. “What’d we got ‘ere?”
She tore open the first letter with her teeth and spat the paper on the carpet. I found myself staring down in the direction of her lap.
“Get out of ‘ere!” grumbled father, “Stop bothering people, girl!”
I drifted through to my room with a soppy face. I tugged the tackiness of my shirt up over my shoulders and lay on my floor with my fan blowing at my ear full blast. It wouldn’t be long before mother wanted something more. I kicked myself upright and stretched my fingers to reach for my toes, doubling over; my chest on my knees. I threw myself back, then used my bed frame to help me stand.
“Reilly!” I heard mum splutter. “Could you please water my pots, I think they might be dying...”
“Urgh!” I screamed maggoty.
“Don’t raise your voice with me!” Mum called, “You need to work to live or you’ll never survive adulthood.”
I really didn’t quite get along with mum too well. Nor with dad. They’re both quite, spiteful, selfish human beings actually.




 

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