Gillian Mears


We were women with very white teeth. One day Beatrice said it was as if we'd been cleaning them with small burnt twigs in Africa or in Katherine, since childhood. Really it was because it was a blistering Sydney summer and though we wore hats and creams, the sun and the wine burnt us all except for Pepe Botero, the Mexican who said he was a writer. Our teeth were white, our skins only imperceptibly older unless you suddenly saw someone or yourself in Lena's mirrors, in afternoon light. Beatrice had bought the terrace next door when I was away but I met her dog first. On certain hot nights the Great Dane would somehow find his way across the roof and poke his head into my bedroom window. From the first night, despite the dog's size, the effect was comical not frightening. The registration tag told me his name was Lace. And I imagined then that she must be romantic, my new neighbour, whose dresses I had been watching on the line, whose dog's black coat was full of torn white threads that made you think of fine point serviettes in a grandmother's bottom drawer or the laceiness of the sea at night after a big wave has broken.



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