The Last Journey – Kate Murdoch
The hold is frigid and dark save for flashing lights outside a lone window. I rise and make my way to the main part of the aircraft. My mother sits on the aisle, nursing a whiskey and ice. The seat next to her is vacant so I make myself comfortable. The cabin is dim. Heads are lolled in sleep, others read or watch movies with their individual lights.
I watch a silver tear cleave her cheek and place my hand over hers. She does not see me. Her gaze rests on the seat in front and I know she thinks of me. She’s pushing me on the swing. I remember that cold day. I was six and my laughter echoed through the playground, my breath a mist, my body rotund in a heavy parka. She does not think of my last day. Her mind skirts around it as it hurts too much. I reach over and touch her face, yearning to hold her and ease her suffering.
At that moment she looks straight at me and I’m sure she sees me. Then I realize she is remembering. Picking up memories like playing cards, turning them over, searching for lost details. As if they might bring me back.
I stand and stare at my mother, imprinting her image on my heart. I have to go. Not to the hold but to the other place. We have travelled together as far as we can.
Kate Murdoch is a Melbourne writer and artist. She exhibited widely as a painter before turning her hand to writing. In between writing historical fiction, she enjoys writing short stories and flash fiction.
Kate studied Professional Writing and Editing at Swinburne University (Melbourne Australia), and has completed short courses in creative writing at RMIT. She is currently writing The Orange Grove, a novel about the passions and intrigues of court mistresses in eighteenth-century France.