Neutiquam Erro - Chapter Nine

Based on a true story, this work has been in progress for 10 years. Alongside the stories are the poems, songs and artwork that have accompanied the journey of a child.

Neutiquam Erro is Latin and translates in English to “I am not lost at all”.


She looked up as the door opened; her head had been buried under the counter trying to find a new paper roll for the till among boxes of free lube samples, synthetic highs and various dusty sex toys.

Standing she tried not to show how much she ached in every bruised muscle.

She couldn’t decide if she should smile. She searched his face for any sign of the rage from the night before but it wasn’t there. He held out a small bunch of purple orchids…the flash of tropical colour took her home so quickly she stopped breathing…Of all the flowers when she felt so alone, of all the flowers most out of place in this cold, grey city.

He never bought her flowers. He never bought anyone flowers…except that friend and that other friend once and…

Still, he insisted he never bought anyone flowers so these must really mean something. She stared at them as he walked across the road for their coffees – their exotic shape like an old friend, familiar and soft. Velvet tongues of vivid purple reminding her of warm smiles she knew back home.

She had never felt so cold…so alone.

They had been married 7 months but they had known each other 7 years. In 7 years they had arguments like other couples but not this. Not violence, not rage that wouldn’t stop until she called the police. She tried to think back, did she miss something? Did he show himself sooner and she ignored it?

Looking around at the shop he had bought her to run, she realised how quickly he had taken control (or had she simply given it away?) She understood then how 7 months could crush a lifetime from a person. How quickly she had moved from running her own business while working with a national project on her own terms and calling her own pay check, to running a bong and dong shop in downtown Geelong and not even receiving a regular wage.

Was it because he knew he couldn’t have done this before now, so he waited? He knew she was independent…he knew how much support and love she had back home, did he plan all this to bring her so far away and to break her so totally?

She watched him walking back across the road with their coffee balanced atop each other. She used to tingle when she saw him, her heart racing so fast she couldn’t keep herself from smiling - but now, after so much rage her heart faltered and her stomach tightened.

She knew she would cry and she knew it would make him angry but she was too broken to stop the tears leaking down her face. At least he didn’t say anything, he just left, disgusted at her weakness.

She drank her coffee and found the till roll, wiped her tears and worked on auto pilot until closing when she would go home, pretend everything was alright and try not to cry.

After all, the flowers must mean something…

short_stories | literature

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