We reassembled our couch. We hung our pictures on the walls. We started our new jobs.
We filled a wool sack with weeds from the front garden. We planted hydrangeas. We made an edging from paua shells.
We screwed towel hangers into the bathroom walls.
We walked down Back Beach Road and saw a seal. We got unpasteurised milk from a nearby farm. We bought bay leaves from the kids next door.
We went to a fashion show. We went to a street party. We went to the pub.
We went to the beach. We went to another beach. We said “it’s not that bloody cold.”
I found a chair and a small table under the house.
I hauled them into the spare room.
I put an inspirational picture on the wall of the spare room.
I bought a scented candle for the spare room.
I renamed the spare room ‘the study’.
I potted some succulents and put them on the bookshelf in the study.
I sat down and stared out at the sea.
I vacuumed again.
I skyped my writing group.
I wrote a list of things to do.
I wrote a social media update.
I updated my LinkedIn profile.
I made some toast.
I listened to the ship horns.
I listened to the church bells.
2023 Burns fellow Kathryn van Beek has an MA from Victoria University Wellington - Te Herenga Waka’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She is a winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Prize. Her collection of short stories, Pet, is available as a podcast, and her work has also appeared in Overland, takahē, Newsroom, and the Sunday Star-Times. She lives in UNESCO City of Literature Ōtepoti Dunedin with her two rescue cats.