This is the first instalment of my novel ‘Ignoring Gravity’ about Rose Haldane, identity detective.
There was a sharp slap followed by a cry, the sound of an animal echoed in my ears and my soul and my empty womb and didn’t fade.
“4lb 3oz. Girl. Write it in the Statement Book then take it away.”
40 years later
Someone took her by the arm, forcing her to sit down. Breath warmed her cheek. She was ice all over. She could see nothing, nothing except one word written in the diary.
Suddenly pain, starting at her cheek and spreading through her head. Again, and again. Each slap beat that word deeper into her unconsciousness.
Rose Haldane fell off the edge of the world.
Three days earlier, her life had taken a turn for the better. It was 10am on Thursday morning and Rose was sitting on a sofa the size of a generous double bed. Black, low, leather, polished steel feet, it was positioned on one side of a glass coffee table bigger than her kitchen. Opposite was a black leather swivel chair that screamed ‘executive.’ She sat gingerly on the sofa, lowering her bottom until, just as she expected to hit the floor, she sank into the sumptuous cushion.
‘He’ll be at least ten or 15 minutes,” his PA had said when she showed Rose into the room using that tone that meant ‘he’s very important and you’re not.’
The room was silent, the air still, no movement except for her chest which she now realised was heaving up and down as if she’d run up the 30 flights of stairs instead of taking the glass and steel bullet lift. This had happened once before, at a big interview. Nerves. She touched her cheeks. Burning.
Do something, she told herself. Yoga.
She lay backwards on the sofa as if it were a bed, her head touching the wall behind her, her legs stretched out in front. Ignoring her pulse, she breathed deeply.
In, out. In, out.
She focussed on the questions she was going to ask, her eyes closing as she concentrated…
© Sandra Danby
… in IGNORING GRAVITY #2, Rose’s interview gets off to the wrong sort of start.