Life in Lockdown: Myra King, Australia

Myra King

Caption: Tommy and Vro in happier times

Life in Lockdown | Posted: Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 at 9:33 am | return to news

Life in Lockdown: Australia - Yes we have no bananas

By Myra King

Myra King

Caption: Tommy and Vro in happier times

My lungs compress and my breath becomes ragged as I jog the two miles to feed my horses. The privilege of driving was lost with my eyesight years ago, although I feel lucky to still have vision and fitness enough, at 64, to get there at all.

Fear stops my breath as the sting of a wasp on my neck burns like fire. It hisses up and crawls beneath my glasses. I fling them to the ground with grim irony that at least it’s gone for my worst eye.

I inhale long and deep, think of all those in pain now with this virus and struggling to breathe. I pick up my glasses, dust them off and carry on, only one more mile.

My horses, Tommy and Vro, whicker out warm greetings on my arrival, walking towards me with expectation of bananas in the gleam of their eyes. They both love bananas even with the skin.

I tell them that there are no bananas today, as I hand them dried figs, their second favourite treat. They snort their surprise but gobble up the offerings.

While I drag fallen branches to the bonfire, both horses still taking ‘the omission of bananas’ as an outrage, follow me around their field, making throaty expectant noises, almost like a mantra. Hopeful I guess, on making the bananas magically appear in my hands like they have done every other morning for the past two years.

Around me, the wild free things still go on with their lives untouched: the male blue wren and his wives, the dragonfly in myriad hovering colours, all busy making preparation for the coming season. Even the wind lifts up a promise of rain to raise the green.

I throw out some hay to my horses and the bananas are soon forgotten in the crunching contented moment of filling their stomachs. For many seconds I forget too.

A tumble of thunder rapidly brings me back. The horses leave their hay and gallop, tails raised and nostrils flared, to the far end of their field. I look to the darkening sky, longing for ‘before’ when life made sense and bananas and safety were not as ‘now’, rations from a world war, so hard to get.

Myra King lives in Australia with her husband, David, and rescue greyhound, Sparky. Among many other literary journals, her work has been published in San Pedro River Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Every Day Fiction and Eclectic Flash.

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