home is where her ashes is

DAYS OF HILDA

So. Monday.

Five of us, Platypus Rock, and my sister’s ashes.

The box is plastic, almost the size of a loaf of bread, and it’s heavy, I’d say nearly two kilos. We’ve been told to bring a spoon so we can get the lid off. Libby’s partner, Darren, carries the box snug in his arm as we troop the five-minute walk to our spot. There’s the rock, big, dark brown, craggy. We climb down off our rock onto a smaller rock on the bank of the river. The smaller rock is a slippery three-person job so we’ll be taking turns to stand on it.

The lid comes off the box.

I tip ashes into Darren’s open hands. Ashes don’t look like you’d expect. I thought they’d be charcoalish, blacker and flakier. They’re gravel and they’re sand, and it’s true what we’ve been told, ashes are like kitty litter.

Darren squats…

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