The ocean's surface was the colour of the clouds above. Steel-grey waves crashed against the cliff, flinging salty spray and white foam high into the air. The wind caught it, pulling the soaking droplets through the air. It was strong, tugging at my hair and baggy clothes. My dark blue skivvy and black guy's jeans hung from me in dripping folds, five sizes too large. They were made to fit a guy much older than me, broader in the chest and shoulders, his tanned skin pulled taut over ripping muscles. The bottom of my jeans trailed in the mud, hiding worn Niké sneakers that may have once been white. He'd been taller than me. A lot taller. For an instant, teeth flashed in his tanned face as he laughed. Then the image was gone, a memory playing on the wind.

I spread my arms wide, as though I were a bird and they were my wings. The wind tugged at my short black hair and clothes. My clothes. His clothes. Even after a year's worth of wash and wear since he last touched them, they still smelt like him. The sharp scent of peppermint with the underlying, less obvious odour of mud, grease, and the ocean. Briefly I wondered what I smelt like. It's kind of hard to tell when it comes to yourself; probably something to do with Milo; I drank some every day. The ocean would be there, just like it was with him. There's probably something else. Maybe quite a few somethings. I can't tell. The clothes still smelled of him. Or maybe I smelled like him. I didn't know. I didn't know if I wanted to know either.

The rain fell harder, bucketing down. It was like a shower. A very cold, windy shower. Scowling, I dropped my arms back to my sides, then turned and splashed through the mud, leaving the cliff behind. It was both a relief and a disappointment to reach the footpath. It meant that I'd left the mud, but would soon be back in my chaotic household. I sneezed. It was cold, and it seemed to be getting colder. Ducking under the overhanging branch just through the gate, I sloshed up the pathway and through the door. Mum looked up from her book.

"Young lady, where have you been?"

I kicked off my sopping shoes and trudged up the stairs, leaving little puddles along the floorboards. Slamming the bathroom door, I pulled off the dripping clothes. Stepping into the shower, I turned the hot water up high, sighing as it pummelled my tired, aching body. Tears burned under my closed eyelids, spilling over and mingling with the hot water, running down my face. My head pounded, a sure sign that I'd wake with a cold in the morning.

His face flashed before me again, and he winked. My memories annoyed me so much sometimes. Trying to blot them out, I focused on the plot, trying to find where I'd made mistakes. Unbidden, thoughts of him returned to me. Growling, I stepped out of the shower and wrapped myself in a fluffy towel. Stomping up more stairs, I entered my bedroom, pulling on his old pyjamas. Mum hated me wearing his clothes. Dad didn't notice. I smiled, picking up my newly-published book. Turning to the dedication, I read my own words for the millionth time.

For my brother, Andrew.

R.I.P. 2007

You were the one who

said I could do it.

Love your baby sister,


His face flashed before mine again, and for once I didn't mind.