Burns Beach

Rashida Murphy

Rashida Murphy

Rashida Murphy is an award winning writer from Western Australia. She has published several short stories, poems, book reviews and essays and her debut novel, The Historian's Daughter, was shortlisted in the Dundee International Book Prize. Rashida lives in Perth and sits on the literary committee at the KSP Writers Centre where she also sponsors an annual CALD Fellowship for emerging writers. Rashida has won several writing residencies and appeared at national and international writers' conferences and festivals.

It rains continuously as I drive north along Marmion Avenue.

‘It's just a shack,' Julia had said. ‘Don't say you weren't warned.'

I turn the key and push the door inwards, leaving my bag to rest on a small square of bricks by the door.

She's right. This is a shack. It smells old, cold and empty. Something has lived and died here. I stand by the door, trapped between the smell inside and the cold outside. I choose outside, take heaving gulps of air, go in again. It'll have to do. There's a couch in the corner, a broken table lamp, a footstool. I didn't expect white sheets and patchwork quilts and sandalwood incense. I did expect a bed. A fireplace. A clean glass.

I bring in the rugs from the car and spread them on the rickety sofa. I wrap myself up in my favourite winter coat and put on thicker socks because I know my feet will be cold. I take out the book I intend to read, check the door, leave the kitchen light on, pour a glass of water, swallow the pills and lie down.

I don't think about the kids or their father. Their lives no longer intersect mine. The door slammed, the slap delivered, the abuse hurled, the friends divided.

Julia will know what to expect when she reads the letter I posted on the way here.
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Rashida Murphy is an award winning writer from Western Australia. She has published several short stories, poems, book reviews and essays and her debut novel, The Historian's Daughter, was shortlisted in the Dundee International Book Prize. Rashida lives in Perth and sits on the literary committee at the KSP Writers Centre where she also sponsors an annual CALD Fellowship for emerging writers. Rashida has won several writing residencies and appeared at national and international writers' conferences and festivals.
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