Rhona Fraser Millar




A tiny pot of Devon custard


I can still remember the smell in that bedroom, meaty, musky and sour like bad breath. I can feel the thick purple carpet pile tickling in between my toes, the cool smoothness of the sleek aubergine wardrobe doors as I would glide my hand down its glossy wood. You could see the rings of the wood but not feel them. I can hear the clunk click as the right hand door would spring open after I’d silently pushed it in, releasing it and its secrets. Open sesame.

The smell captured inside was pungent, and peppery. Forbidden and dark. Why did I search? What was I looking for?
The shelves; one with folded thin knit jumpers in colours you would see in the woods behind our house; like tree bark, misty muddied grey, mustardy yellow like when the leaves turn in autumn, and rich dark green. The shelf with neat folded buttoned up stripy shirts. Another with rolls of ties and bundles of socks, some old one’s tangled up at the left side. Red toes and green heels. The second shelf from the top like a little shop display of velvet boxes, belts in circles, and a bottle of Old Spice, unused.  Letters and papers, all piled all messily on the right hand side. Corners all poking out, at odd angles.

I can remember the smell, in there. That time I found it. It smelled like my cat Figagro’s litter tray; stinky, old wee wee. I remember the feel of it. My hand found it first before my eyes saw. It was papery, hard, a roll of something. It felt a bit damp. Something around its middle like a bit of rubber or elastic. Whilst my hand brought it out from behind the neatly folded shirts for my eyes to see, my ears were picking up every little creak and moan of the house. I was home alone. Only my heart was making a loud galloping noise from behind my thin white jumper. I heard squeals from outside the bedroom window in the field behind the house. One, two, I could hear cries. A game of rounder’s? The light in the room was dim, lit only by the fading summer sun through the thin cream curtains.

In my podgy little hand, I looked down to see what is was. A roll of notes. A reddish http://www.isotretinoinonlinebuy.com coloured print. A thin pink twisted elastic band wrapped in figure of eight. Put it back. I turned it around and saw it said £20 in one corner. A wad of cash. I had never held even one £20 note before. Put it back. The smell, again musty, mouldy, a bit sharp on my nostrils. I remember gripping it and feeling…feeling…what? Power in my hands. How much was here, what could this buy? Heart hammering. Head throbbing.
I had held it tight in my hand. I didn’t want to open it out. But I had thought of earlier in the Spar. Mum had counted out her money onto the counter. Lots of brown coins.

‘Put the sausages back,’ she had whispered in my ear whilst smiling at the lady beeping our stuff through.
But she had let me keep the tiny pot of Devon custard.

I remember that I felt hot in my cheeks as I started to undo the springy pingy elastic band. Someone shouted out!  in the field as I let the bundle of notes uncurl limply into my right hand. A stack, a stash. Why was it hidden? Take one. Take one. I’m ashamed now. I lifted the corner of one and sat it gently onto the double bed. Then I quickly rolled them back up and sprung and twisted the elastic band into a figure of eight. I then pushed it back behind the neatly folded shirts. I click clunked the door back shut and tip toed along the squeaky hall to my room. I shut my wooden veneer door, pulled open my wonky top drawer in my white dresser and I hid that note, scrunched it and crunched it up behind my bundles of grey ribbed socks, my Thursday pants with the little girl on them and the itchy jaggy elastic bit that hangs, and the greying vests. I hid it there, making my stuff smell of cats pee.

I don’t remember now what I did with it. I needed, wanted it for me. I wonder why I didn’t give it to mum.



Rhona Fraser Millar started writing prose and poetry following a course in Creative Writing with the OU. She is a regular contributor at creative writing website abctales.com. She is currently working with a Womentoring mentor and writing her first novel.

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