- Short Story Prize
In the summer days of 2010, Linh squatted in the back of the kitchen and pressed her bare back to the stone sink. Customers stopped coming in and even the ice melted in their tubs of sweet drinks in the fridge. At the end of the days, cubes of grass jelly shrivelled, growing wrinkled layers of film on their sides and Linh had to throw it all into the bushes at the back of the cafe.
The woman I knew best, of course, was my own mother. I could see my hips, legs and breasts becoming hers, and I heard her every self-abasement as my own. She’d take up walking regimes, or cut out bread for a month, and then on weeknights I’d come into the kitchen to find she’d caved and drunk an entire bottle of white wine. It was a cliche, a stock-standard Electra complex, but there was no way in hell I was going to become her.