“The Scent of Lemons” by Sandra Arnold

He said he was sure the house they’d stayed in had been halfway between a rock at the end of the beach and the Māori pa site. He remembered paddocks opposite where the owners kept their horse. And a garden full of lemon bushes and a path that led down to the beach. The librarian brought out maps and summoned a couple of locals to help. Perhaps the house had been demolished? Perhaps there’d been floods? Erosion? Perhaps he was mistaken about the area? Twenty three years was a long time.

They walked on the beach. Pale blue silk covered the sand where the tide was retreating. The sea was polished glass. This was what she remembered, she said, when their daughter was young. She remembered their dog-at-the-time ignoring the seagulls so he could guard the little girl, making sure she didn’t swim out of her depth, pulling her back if she did, ignoring her protests.

This can’t be the right place, he said. What he remembered was the scent of lemons. Lifting their daughter up to feed the horse. Watching her flying along the sand, arms outstretched, pretending to be a bird. The dog racing alongside, keeping close watch.

“She’d have loved our present dog,” she said.

They watched him swimming, unencumbered by responsibility, scattering seagulls, chasing their shadows on the sand, his young body quivering with the sheer joy of being alive.

“I’ll try google maps,” he said. “Places don’t just disappear.”


“The Scent of Lemons” first appeared in Black Poppy Review, 2018.

FEATURED IMAGE: Melissa McKinnon “Rundle Sky” 36×36″. Acrylic on Canvas. Private Collection. Calgary, Alberta
Melissa McKinnon, Canadian Contemporary Landscape Artist  http://www.melissamckinnonart.com
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Sandra Arnold

Sandra Arnold is an award-winning writer who lives in New Zealand. She is the author of five books including her most recent novel The Ash, the Well and the Bluebell, Mākaro Press, NZ, a non-fiction work Sing No Sad Songs, Canterbury University Press, NZ, and a collection of flash fiction Soul Etchings, Retreat West Books, UK.  Her short fiction has been widely published and anthologised internationally. She has received nominations for The Best Small Fictions, Best Microfictions and The Pushcart Prize.  She has a PhD in Creative Writing from  Central Queensland University, Australia.



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paul beckman

“Places don’t just disappear.” Neither do good stories, Sandra.

Sandra Arnold

Thank you. lovely Paul!

Sandra Arnold  Author Photo.jpeg
Ronnie Pankova-Karadjova

“Pale blue silk covered the sand where the tide was retreating.”
I can feel this scent too… Masterful!

Sandra Arnold

Thank you Ronnie.

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