Danny Kelly has lost.

Danny Kelly is heaving, bawling, crying like a baby, his body shaking and convulsing. His body has so deceived him that he is scared he’s going to piss himself in the pool. Spit is foaming at his lips; he won’t remove his goggles even though they have fogged up, even though he can only see the world through a mist of cloud and tears. He doesn’t want to see the world, he can’t imagine how to be in this new world. He senses a swimmer glide under the rope next to him, he feels a hand on his shoulder. He jumps back, alarmed, rips off his goggles and sees the golden boy in his lane; the golden boy’s grin sees pasted on, enormous, all teeth and gums, his eyes are spark and fire and heat, and he is trying to shake Danny’s hand but Danny doesn’t take it. Danny turns to face the cool surface of the tiles. Danny won’t look at the golden boy, he won’t face the world. Come on, mate, he hears, Come on, shake. Danny refuses.

Christos Tsiolkas, Allen & Unwin 2013


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s