There are many things that come to mind when I sit down to write about these stories. The first is how great they are: that much is clear. But hovering over that is the cloud of everything that’s happened since submissions for this edition closed.
When I was in Year 8, I occasionally went to the home of the girl I sat next to in French class. We didn’t usually hang out together, she always played soccer with the boys, but there was a friendly competition between us for first place in the yearly French exams. On those afternoons we would only speak French, sounding like characters from ‘Allo ‘Allo, and making up weird complicated sentences that no one could understand, least of all us.
It was 1990. Cassette tapes were still widely used. Sylvie Greenhalf was ten. Sylvie’s father wanted her to be a lawyer. Her mother wanted her to be a doctor. Her parents had divorced before she could speak in full sentences and they still fought bitterly over Sylvie’s future.
I. Let me be clear I have no feeling for pigs. I eat them, etcetera. When I was a child I had some kind of feeling for pigs but then I attempted to make my own pig with a pink sock and some cotton wool and a needle and thread. This, according to the instructions in a favourite book of mine.
I have a hearing problem. I can hear the smallest movement of water as if it were the sound of an ocean. I’ve often wondered if it’s because I was born nearly three weeks late. I was delivered by a midwife on the cusp of the forty-third week of mother’s pregnancy.