Teaspoon of Jellybeans


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Emily Paull is a writer and editor, with a background in English Literature and modern social history. She writes short fiction and historical fiction and is the author of "Well-Behaved Women", a  [+]

When she remembers visiting Dad in his high-rise building each holidays, she thinks about how walking down Adelaide Terrace felt like walking through a canyon; how she was small anyway, but felt miniscule; and how when they hopped in the lift, the carpet always smelled strange, as if no amount of cleaning could erase the number of feet that had trodden on it over the years.

The receptionist would greet them, making a fuss because she only saw the children (at most) four times a year.

Dad's was the corner office, looking out over the river and the big green parks surrounded by cars, and sometimes there would be a circus, though they never got to go. He'd finish his work, tell his secretary they were leaving for lunch, and then parade the three children through the offices, introducing them to people whose faces blurred into one. ‘Why are you here and not at the Royal Show?' someone said once. ‘If Dad won't let you go, I'll help you take him to court.'

At the restaurant, they ate sandwiches on white bread, knowing that they'd be offered a teaspoon of jellybeans from the jar by the entrance. By the time she went back to school, it had become a bag of jellybeans. ‘Wow,' said her best friend. ‘I wish my dad worked in the city too.'

She stayed quiet, because she hadn't known before then that people could go to work anywhere else.
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