Category Archives: i write

Writing: Slippery

Thoughts slipped in and out of her brain, for a moment wildly bright like a firework, then languidly fading away. They were, she thought, like the autumn leaves dropping past the window – vividly there one minute, dancing provocatively, then gone, untraceable on the ground amongst all the other leaves.

Sarah sighed a lot these days, partly in frustration, partly in resignation. She knew her brain wasn’t working properly but she couldn’t seem to find time to work out what to do about it. Or she simply forgot to do anything about it. Brain Drain, that’s what it was. She remembered the phrase from university years – her heyday, at least as far as her brain was concerned. She remembered friends being lured away by tempting offers of foreign work and exotic lifestyles, many of them never to be seen again, presumably too busy with their glittering work-life balance.

Sarah looked down at her desk, at the lacklustre report sitting in front of her, the wilting plant (she MUST remember to water that at lunchtime) and the photo of her children (one child had allergic shiners, one was sulking and only the baby looked like she was making an effort). Even her pen holder looked tired. There had been no brain drain involved in getting here, to this point in her life, she thought. And anyway, this brain drain was something entirely different. It was like the steady drip of fuel out of a car and eventually she would come to a halt.

Mayonnaise! She MUST buy some at lunchtime, remembering the meltdown that had occurred at sandwich-making time this morning. She opened her diary to scribble a note, not trusting herself to remember by lunchtime. Already on this morning’s list was ‘pants’, ‘house insurance’, ‘end of quarter reports’, ‘see Rosie’s teacher’ and ‘find a hobby’. Her life was a glittering balance of parenting, work and, buried somewhere in the past waiting to be resurrected, her own life, she thought. Under the note, she glanced at the diary. Shit! She had forgotten about meeting Richard’s team at 10.00. They would be waiting for her in the meeting room, tapping pens in annoyance, as she tumbled into the room breathless with forgetfulness.

She would only remember about the mayonnaise at 6.45 the next morning when, triggered by a simple sandwich, World War III broke out in the Smith household.

© 2014 Ella Saye. All rights reserved.


As I hold my poorly son's hand, entwined through cot bars,
I've been thinking of you.
Almost ten, as we unpacked trunks, we found matching pyjamas,
a shared birthday, destined to be friends.

Then a few weeks later, when noisy footsteps came to get you
and roused us from sleep,
still their day but the middle of our night
we listened in interested silence
until we heard your sobs of grief.

Then a long time later you came back
because, well, where else could you go?

And night after night, we held hands,
across the gap between cold metal beds
as you sobbed silently.

And I think of your son, asleep across the hall.
Newly nine,
also an orphan.

© 2007 Ella.Saye. All rights reserved.