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Volume 14 • Number 1 • Spring-Summer 2022

Edwina Shaw

On the Water

Oxley Creek, chocolate brown and stinking, ran through our backyard as children. My brother Matty and I rowed our heavy canoe, arms sore as we pulled against the tide, staying close to the mangroves. We tied up under a bridge to rest in the shade, sweat cooling on our backs and ate crackers with vegemite and drank warm flasks of lime cordial, grinning at each other, explorers on a grand adventure.

Six years after Matty killed himself, I found myself on another boat in a lake on Kalimantan. On the horizon storm clouds rested, midnight blue, behind bright green reeds and a fishing village, water wide and steel grey.

And I knew, without a doubt, that beside me on that boat sat not only the local man steering the outboard motor, but my brother. Right at my shoulder. Feeling the warmth of the breeze on my skin, the cool silk of the water running between my fingertips trailing in the wash. Riding on my back just as he’d done when we were young. Breathing my breath. Inhaling my joy.

Edwina Shaw is the Australian author of A Guide Through Grief, Thrill Seekers, In the Dark of Night and a multitude of short pieces that have appeared in literary journals and anthologies including Best Australian Stories. She is the editor of Bjelke Blues and co-editor of Our Inside Voices. She also runs Relax and Write Retreats.
Online at: Edwina Shaw