• macro photo of eye
    Short stories

    Blue Eyed Brad

    In 1993 when I moved to Maleny, Queensland, it was a sleepy little town. It was the place I met Brad, with his piercing blue eyes, his colourful character, and his wife Deb. Not much went on after 5 p.m. in Maleny back in the 90s. There was one main grocery store, owned by Allison and John Frew. Everyone called it Frew’s Food Store.  Even on a Saturday there was no sleeping in if I wanted to stock the pantry for the week. The store closed at 12 noon Saturday and did not open until Monday. Still, we could always buy a pizza or cooked chicken from Nagy’s in the…

  • macro photo of eye
    Short stories

    Blue eyes

    He had the most piercing blue eyes. His silver-grey hair telling a deceptive story, given he was only in the fourth decade of his life. Olive skin, sun tanned and with a sparkling smile. So, I was not surprised when Sue said, ‘He is awe-fully good looking! We both laughed. Sue was old enough to be his mother but that did not stop her from recognising his good looks. Yet, he was not only a good-looking man with blue eyes and great physical features. He was also good natured, generous, helpful, and thoughtful. He came as a great package of humankind. The kind of person you would like to call…

  • Short stories

    The carnival is over

    ‘Turn down the volume’ she cried. All she wants to do is rest. There were times when music bought joy into her life. The passion, the emotion. But now, all she asks for is quietness, peace. She wants others to understand but does not explain. Her silence speaks volumes to me, it is loud and unexpected. Hence, when there is a request to turn down the volume, it is not questioned. She looks at the photo sitting on the wine table in the corner. It may have once been home to bottles of wine, and a random feather from her scarf. It was a sign of good times. But now…

  • Short stories

    Atherton

    I put my suitcase down and looked around. A kitchenette with laminate benches and a laminate table and vinyl covered chairs. It was 60s style. I opened the back door to see the bush behind. As I returned to the car I looked around. My unit was one of around ten others. All in a row with a covered parking space out the front. The place looked run down and in an isolated area. Yet this was to be home for the next month, Monday to Friday, and only a few minutes’ drive to the township of Atherton. Earlier in the day I drove from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane…

  • Short stories

    No second chance

    Once the coronavirus restrictions were lifted and café’s opened Alison and I met for lunch in Toowoomba at the Parkhouse Café. I patted down my windswept hair as I walked into the café, elated that I was catching up with my bestie after months of home isolation. I looked around the café, the tables were scattered sparsely across the café floor. I had to wait to be seated and the disposable paper menu was handed to me at the table. It was different to other occasions when the café was a buzz with diners and people lined up at the counter to order. I kept reminding myself not to hug…

  • Short stories

    A day to remember

    We all thought we knew what to expect when the Johnston family met for a reunion in Adelaide in 2013. After all, we had attended six previous Johnston reunions. On the 2 June 1953, the Johnston family of eight (four boys and two girls) left Lisbellaw, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The family were immigrating to Australia. Their first destination was England’s Tilbury docks where they boarded the P & O Ship, the SS Mooltan. June 2 was a memorable day for Charles and Violet Johnston and their children. It was also a memorable day for Great Britain, and all the nations of the Commonwealth. It was the day of Queen…

  • Short stories

    The child is growing older

    The sun is shining through the shutters as she pulls the bed coverings over her head. All she can hear is the sound of the clock, tick-tock, tick-tock, as if to say – time to get up! But it is a cold winter’s morning and she must be persuaded to get out of her warm bed. There is a solitary silence surrounding her as she gathers her dressing gown tightly around her. She passes the mirror; her hair is tousled and untamed. Her hairbrush has gone missing, but she will find it later. Always known for her agile and graceful poise she would glide to the breakfast table. However, today,…

  • Short stories

    Childhood memories – the family home (Part 2)

    The backdoor of our family home, where Christine and I grew up, was open. I knocked on the door, Christine did the same. As there was no answer we tentatively walked in – uninvited guests! As I stepped into the small porch childhood memories came flooding back. I then walked into the adjoining room, the laundry. There I saw the same concrete tubs. They had been there for 65 years! Back then there was a small table in the corner. This is where my sister Susan and I sat while our mother washed our face and hands, grubby from playing outside. One day, during the ritual of face and hand…

  • Short stories

    Childhood memories – the family home (Part 1)

    My parents build their first home in Toowoomba in the 1950s. To realise their dream my father, who had  been in the Air Force, borrowed money through the War Service loan program. I was four years old when we moved in, two years older than my sister Susan. The house was a simple structure, made of fibro, three bedrooms and one bathroom. The toilet was in the backyard. The house had a lovely treed outlook, opposite Newtown Park. During World War II Newtown park was a military camp, home to thousands of Australian and USA soldiers. Most of the soldiers were accommodated in tents. There were halls and other outbuildings…