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As it creeps into winter here in the southern hemisphere I find myself fantasising about warm summer breezes.
There is a little girl sitting on the bank of a fast flowing river. On her back are the marks of weeks worth of different tan lines across her shoulders and arms. She’s wearing a singlet top with spaghetti straps, even though people at school think she shouldn’t. It’s so hot, and her mum said it was ok anyway, and she could wear whatever she wanted. The girl’s top is teal, teal is her favourite colour. She’s sitting with her bottom on the red dusty ground, dangling her skinny legs in the water as it drifts by.
She doesn’t turn her head to look at the parade of colours which march across the sky above her as the sun finally sets. It’s quite late, the evenings last forever in the summer down here. She’s had her dinner, sausages on the barbeque and the pasta salad that her mother loves, but she doesn’t really like. She eats it because her mum made it and that’s good, even if the little girl thinks it tastes like nothing and is slimy.
If she looked up, she would see that the undersides of the clouds are orange with bits of purple, and the sky behind them is a dull grey sort of blue. The girl swings her legs back and forth and watches the eddies and whorls she makes in the water with her feet. She can still smell the sausages on her skin because she hasn’t washed her hands since dinner, and she can also smell the tomato sauce that she spilled on her stripey shorts. She tried to suck off the sauce but it still left a little stain, not quite round, more like a couple of circles stuck together but overlapping, blobby.
The girl’s hair is up, but she’s been running around all day so there are stray strands of hair sticking out all over the place. Some of them fall onto her bare shoulders and neck and they tickle her in the warm evening breeze. Then the wind suddenly picks itself up, like lots of little breezes decided to come past her spot at once, and she hears the leaves above her rustle restlessly, and the limbs of the river red gums groan and squeak.
Somewhere, it seems very far away, someone is calling her name. It might be mum, the little girl thinks, so she reluctantly pulls her wrinkly feet out of the lovely cool water, stands up, wiping her dusty hands on her dustier shorts, and trots off back towards the camp site.