He Said I Had Freckles

My older brother was born in 1976, Lance John. Then me. Then Shane Austin, my younger brother in 1980. Mum used to make us pick the mulberries so that she could make her wine. We each had a bucket to fill. Purple fingers and purple tongues. Every time a mulberry we’d eat too many and end up with dribbly bum. But the wine was good. She said when we were big we’d get to taste it. Sitting in the dusty cellar I’d watch the bottles bubbling. Mom wrote on the stickers, June 1987. Carefully we carried them through to the pantry and laid them gently on the floor at the back of the cupboard. The bottles on the floor started with January 1981. Once we had all the bottles in the rows it looked like the bottle store in town. It was a real cellar. I couldn’t wait to taste it. Mom said we should wait a couple of years before we could open the bottles again. Just so that they can mature.
“What you going to be when you big?” I asked Shane staring at the bottles piled at the back of the cupboard.
“I’m going to be a mulberry man,” he said smiling
“Me too. And play the piano you know.”
“Only girls play the piano.” He said. “You not a girl. But you can be a mulberry man if you want.”
I nodded agreeing that I wasn’t a girl. Maybe farmers weren’t supposed to have a piano. That’s probably why we had an LP player.
“When I’m big,” I said “I’m going to have lots of barrels and lots of chickens. The chickens can talk to each other and keep the rats away.”
“Good idea,” he nodded. “Coz chickens eat rats you know.”

Original Oil on Canvas SOLD
2.2m x 70cm
Unavailable in print

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