• Chloe Roweth

Love Hurts

The fly-screen hung from the window frame, and flies buzzed without favour - inside and out. Shaun didn’t notice. His aching shearer’s back dropped down, creak onto cot. He tore the end off the envelope, breathless. Wednesday was mail day - the Cocky had delivered the post before breakfast. But he’d stopped himself reading the letter from the missus in front of the other blokes. Something about his Annie’s careful, formal lettering had made him edgy… Since when did she call him Mr Shaun Fulton? He had tucked the letter under his mattress, but it didn’t leave him all day. He could feel the loaded anticipation behind every blow… He easily knocked over his best numbers of the shed. Now, he had an hour before tea to put his fears to rest.

As he unfolded the letter, his eye caught random phrases… “…not planned…”, “…sorry, but… “, “…just happened…”. “Over.” Over? By the time he started at “Dear Shaun,” he knew how the story ended. He read the letter as slow-moving torture. “You don’t know him…”, “We’re in love.” He read of his world falling apart in a bad movie script. The balled paper dropped to the lino floor. He turned to the wall, and slapped flies dead one by one. He didn’t make tea.

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