Is That Edel?
international fiction special feature
Is That Edel?
Her in-laws live near the sea where the tide is often out, and there’s a strong smell of fish already dead. Children kick balls in the green toward the back of the housing estate, but it’s quiet where the in-laws are. Once a month, Edel gets out of her car and closes the door gently, not so much as a concern for the people in the house, but to gain a few moments before seeing them. She was seventeen the first time she came to this house, laughing and giggling with the man who would soon be her husband, the two of them drunk on Guinness, stumbling into the hallway and up the stairs. The next morning, she lay in his bed and heard him with his brother and sister. His brother and sister were laughing, and she felt her body as if it were twice the usual weight. She didn’t know how she would leave that room and go downstairs. She was crying when he came up with tea and toast, and he held her and promised they had not been laughing at her. “Come say hello,” he said when a half hour later, dressed and freshened up, she’d tried to sneak out. His grip on her hand was tight and he brought her to the kitchen.
The door is on the latch for her as it always is, and she pushes it open and says hello. It’s a similar feeling walking into the house for Sunday dinner as it was walking into the kitchen when she was seventeen. The house smells of roast beef. It’s a brighter house than hers with the larger window beside the front door and she always feels exposed. There’s a soccer game on the TV in the . . .
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Able Muse Write Prize for Fiction, 2020 ▪ Winner. . . . . . .
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