About 2 girls

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About a Girl

Also by Joanne Horniman

My Candlelight Novel Secret Scribbled Notebooks Mahalia Little Wing A Charm of Powerful Trouble

About a Girl


Joanne Horniman

First published in 2010 Copyright © Joanne Horniman 2010 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. The Australian Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or ten per cent of this book, whichever is the greater, to be photocopied by any educational institution for its educational purposes provided that the educational institution (or bodythat administers it) has given a remuneration notice to Copyright Agency Limited (cal) under the Act. Allen & Unwin 83 Alexander Street Crows Nest nsw 2065 Australia Phone (61 2) 8425 0100 Fax (61 2) 9906 2218 Email info@allenandunwin.com Web www.allenandunwin.com National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry: Horniman, Joanne About a girl isbn 978 1 74237 144 3 ( pbk.) a 823.3Cover and text design by Bruno Herfst Cover illustration by Amanda Soutar Set in 11.2 pt Dante mt by Ruth Grüner Printed in Australia by McPherson’s Printing Group 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Tanka for my muse, Tom

I search the kiln shed, the orchard, and in the ferns … then you appear in the kitchen when I least expect you

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his morning Iwoke and remembered her, and went to

the window to look out into the leafless garden, leaning my forehead against the cold winter glass. Flynn. I whispered her name. Flynn – one single, flighty syllable, the teeth flicking the bottom lip and the tongue expelling a breath of warm air. The window clouded with a small patch of mist. And then it faded away. Flynn: she was graceful and intense,beautiful, serious. I remember when we lay together for the first time and I closed my eyes and felt the crackle of her dark hair between my

fingers. She was all warmth and sparking light. When I was with her, my skin sighed that the centre of the world was precisely here. Nowhere else.

Part One

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Chapter One

and the sound jangled into the room. And Isaw that it was her, the girl I’d seen running down the street only fifteen minutes earlier with a white guitar clutched to her chest and a boy trailing after her, as though in her slipstream. She gazed out into the audience as though expecting someone special, and her expression was so trustful and tender that my heart went out to her. Then, turning her face to her guitar, she played anotherchord, lifted her throat, and began to sing. And her lovely, soft shoulders in a little strapless cotton dress, and her bare legs, and the way she smiled with humble delight at the applause … And her voice was round and full and confident,


he drew her fingers across the strings of her guitar,

and her guitar ramped right up so that it was loud, the way I like music to be. I stoodmotionless and listened. The other people in the room fell away. It was as if she was singing for me alone, and no one else in the world existed. When she’d played four songs straight she paused. She had kicked off her black rubber thongs and was sitting on a chair in the spotlight barefoot, bare-shouldered, dark-haired, with her white guitar cradled in her arms like a lover. She drummed her feetlightly on the floor, staring into space as though considering what to play next. ‘They say soft is the new loud,’ she said quickly and almost indistinctly into the microphone. She seemed shy, except for when she was actually playing. The songs in the rest of her set were quieter, a beautiful contrast to what had gone before. I listened and watched, mesmerised. When she had finished she said, ‘Thank...