When I first started visiting my mother from Sydney it felt like the ends of the earth, but that impression passed. In Bundaberg no one is a stranger for long. At the IGA checkout where I used to shop for Mum’s habitual bits and pieces - a box of tissues to add to the stockpile, sweet biscuits that would remain in her bedside tin until my next visit - I never left without a piece of wisdom or a kind enquiry. It came standard with the receipt. Once it was the secret to the best chocolate cake going. It’s instant coffee, by the way, a teaspoon, not too much.like a motherless childThis was high-end accommodation. He had had no idea. He had paid a lot of money but that was to be expected, given that the company had bought exclusive rights to the mountain. He had been confused by all the information. He'd thought you had to stay two nights - the night before the climb, and the night mid-climb.
“And the other guest has arrived, sir?”
“Your fellow guest, sir? Your companion?”
“What do you mean? It's only me.”mountain lodgesOn the drive home she pushes her finger deep into my forearm and a white oval blooms.
I sneak a look down where she pressed and see a fine crescent marked there. The mark is a little jagged because she’s been biting her nails again. She points at the side of the road and squeals as I take the turn-off to Danny’s house.
“Look at the blackberries. Remember how we used to pick them on the way home from the beach?”blackberriesNEW: mountain lodges•A Journal of Quality Short Fiction From Australia and Beyond•Contents