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seem to notice. She was singing now, and waving her arms and he was

shouting at her – it was dangerous, she should come back. He tried to

reach her but he could not move. But why? Why couldn’t he move?

He felt a pressure on his arms, and tried to pull away. His dad was

holding him, he was nodding. The song was filling his ears now. Her

tone, her mouth. But she was no longer smiling.







Emily wasn’t at school.

He loitered around the schoolyard, peering into the rings of

cross-legged girls, leaning back trying to phase off the heat. He had

to tell her yes, yes he would go anywhere with her. They could take

his dad’s ute, and leave tomorrow before someone noticed they

weren’t at school. Yes, they would drive away and leave this town –

the smell of fish and the old lonely men – to the next town, and then

the next and work along the way. Under the stars: they would sleep,

smoke cigarettes, swim naked, make love in the back of the ute and

he would hold her and sing a lullaby in her ear. He’d promise her that

one day, no matter what, one day he’d take her to Paris – indeed the

city of love. At the end of the day he slipped out of the school gates

before Ryan could catch him and walked to Emily’s house. He

knocked gently on the front door. Nothing. He was about to leave

when the smell of cigarettes and sweat reached his nose. Her father

opened the door. He was a big man, with thick legs and a beer gut to

match. He stood so close to Jake that his stomach was almost

touching him.

‘What the hell do you want?’

‘Where’s Emily?’

‘I could ask you the same goddamn thing. The bitch took my

wallet and cigarettes and left while I was sleeping. You wait till I get

my hands on her! I’m her goddamn father, and what do I get? I’ll tell

you what I don’t ge-’

‘Where did she go?’

‘How should I know?’ He snorted. Jake turned and ignored his

hazy speech. He looked out at the murky shoreline where the greyish

water met land. It seemed so strange that on the other side of the

ocean people would speak French. He saw a couple, halfway up the

jetty. A pink cardigan, chinos. Must be tourists. The man bent over

to kiss the laughing girl. She left, he thought, she just left.

Jetty View