by Anita Goveas
BUT IT’S THE last day of the summer hols and Luke’s hair smells like candyfloss and chip-shop vinegar and everything shiny and brittle, and her mum and dad will keep her inside until she’s twenty-five if she’s late again or it’ll be like the time Dad said she’d lost her keys and changed the locks and then found them in his best trousers pocket but she wasn’t allowed a new set until Year 11 anyway and Luke isn’t lost property but she found him for herself and she can feel herself opening up with him and the velvet feel of his sweaty palms and it probably isn’t love but she’s been singing his name in the shower and he rhymes with duke, and fluke and sometimes when he looks at her she wants to puke but in a good way and everything feels shiny and brittle, and if she asked he’d take her home on the back of his bicycle right now but she’d never find out if he has been eating chips all day or it’s the stuff he puts on his hair that makes it shiny and brittle and he’ll never find out her lip gloss tastes like candyfloss.
Anita Goveas is British-Asian, London-based, and fuelled by strong coffee and paneer jalfrezi. She was first published in the 2016 London Short Story Prize anthology, most recently by the Cincinnati Review. She’s on the editorial team at Flashback Fiction, and tweets erratically @coffeeandpaneer. Her debut flash collection, ‘Families and other natural disasters’ is available from Reflex Press, and links to her stories are at https://coffeeandpaneer.wordpress.com.