Falling in Love with Vinnie Sparrow Inside and Out

Vinnie Sparrow regularly turns his eyelids inside out on the playground at break time. We squeal with grossed-out delight as he chases us with his sherbet-furred tongue sticking out and those pale pink slivers of skin half covering his sky-blue irises. It snows for four whole days in February, and a group of us goes to the top field to slide down with bin liners borrowed from the custodian’s cleaning cupboard. Vinnie loses control of his stolen canteen tray half way down and tumbles into the wire fence at the back of the football pitch. The packed snow drift behind the goal is splattered with crimson. I clutch him, and stare into the chasm of his gashed cheek, past the shiny amber jewels of fat globules, to the blank white smoothness of his jaw bone. Until Mrs Smithfield says they really need to get him to the hospital.
Louise Mangos

You Will Hate Me

You will hate me. That thought is a weight on my shoulders and a tight strap across my chest. I have rung and they are on their way. You slouch in the armchair — oblivious. If life force is palpable it has seeped and leaked out of your pores bit by bit. You have moved like a sloth for days while I've circled the phone not wanting to upset you. Trim. The fat. Off. You don't see what I see — in the mirror. You don't concede your gaunt cheeks, your augmented eyes, and your dull strands of fine hair. It's falling out, did you know? You fail to notice your dismal bones, your frail posture. Your thumb and index finger close easy around your arm. It won't stop you. Every. Breath. Hurts. They'll hook you up to be force-fed. I'm your mother. My love is steel. You will hate me.
Charlotte French