Jen biroed a map on the back of Magda’s hand and walked away smiling. Magda stayed sitting in the park, hand in her jacket hidden from the rain. Then she thought twice and licked the ink away. Her hand was red from rubbing but now her eyes were dry.
Madeleine puffed out her cheeks. She wanted to write something clear, something interesting, something set in the past. And that was a problem.
She knew what biros were, she had used one herself at school. But now, every time she tried to write the word, her writer changed it to ‘bird’. At first it was funny – ‘Calvin tapped the bird gently on his teeth as he thought’ – and then it was not. She tried writing the letters one by one, with spaces in between, and then taking the spaces away, but as she did, the biro became a bird. Life was too short; she wrote ‘writer’ instead and forgot about Calvin’s white, white teeth. Pen would have done, she thought later, but then it was too late.
And then there was the thing with the orange. The orange tan. The big ape thing. She wrote orange tan in the search box but there was no result. But she was sure she remembered them. Big brown apey things with very long arms. But maybe not.
Later in the year the rain stopped and the sun steamed the puddles. Madeleine sat outside the drinkhouse and tried to explain biros to Calvin. But he did not remember or understand. He had always used a writer, hadn’t he? Madeleine drank her drink and gave up. Her feelings for Calvin wrinkled a little. She decided not to talk about orange tans.
Later again she thought about her feelings and wrote in her journal. How did she feel? Well, she lived him. What? No, I mean I live him. Oh, this is ridiculous. I l-o-v-e LIVE him. No. She wrote l-o-v- in the search box. NO RESULT. DO YOU MEAN LIVE? No. Please no. Not this. Please leave us something. NO RESULT. DO YOU MEAN NOTHING?