With my finger I scraped at the soil watching the earwigs dart as I ploughed through their network of invisible tunnels. Then, with two fingers, then my whole hand I flicked away the earth. Deeper, deeper, I broke through the mesh of roots and began clawing. As the ground got denser and wetter, I used a stone to break it up and both hands to take the soil away. When the ground was too hard, I got a spade from the garage.
‘What you digging for?’ people asked. I didn’t reply. I wasn’t digging for anything.
At mealtimes, no-one mentioned it and I kept my hands – so engrained with dirt that my fingerprints were visible – under the dinner table.
Progress slowed. A bucket was taking an hour to fill when the bad weather came.
‘Go and fill that hole,’ my mother told my dad. ‘I don’t want it pooling water. It’s too close to the house. ’
The sky was pewter as I stood and watched my younger brother help my dad put the earth back. ‘We’ll open it up in the Spring,’ he said.
They never did, but it doesn’t matter. For the hole may be full of soil and under a veil of daisies, but it’s still there.
© Shona Main 2011