Rachel Sawaya

Pristine is a Place to Start

The white house tick­les some­thing inside him. The pick­et fence, the trike out front, the lace cur­tains at the win­dows. He fum­bles with his equip­ment at first, then forces him­self to calm calm calm.

Spotless snow in the backyard.

No fum­bling, no twitch­ing eye, no trip­ping over wires. He’s a pro­fes­sion­al, a pro­fes­sion­al.

Fresh sheet of bubblewrap.

He packs the bag with steady hands. The fus­es and the clip­pers and the screws and all the oth­er odd­ments and pieces.

Lips part­ing in anticipation.

Before head­ing up the path, he wipes the sweat from his face.  The cob­bles are hemmed with pan­sies. Each small face nods him on. He knocks on the door, ignor­ing the bell.

Breath con­dens­ing on frost­ed glass panes. 

He draws a smi­ley face.

Light foot­steps and the door swings away, reveal­ing a solemn lit­tle face.

Are your par­ents home?

She nods, her thumb in her mouth. He tugs it out and she gives him a gap toothed smile.

He lets him­self in.


Rachel Sawaya lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Mali ’04-’06) and is cur­rent­ly com­plet­ing a Masters in Creative Writing through Victoria University. She has been pub­lished by Radio New Zealand and recent­ly won the nation­wide Ocean:View com­pe­ti­tion run by WWF. Her blog can be found at http://lastlittlebird.blogspot.com/