Ned leads him to the ensuite with Enzo’s hands in his, walking backward holding Enzo’s eyes. He lays down the bath mat and Enzo steps onto it then jiggles about a bit, doing the twist. Then he’s still again, the grin remains and he places his arms on Nev’s shoulders.
Allison Browning, ‘These Bones’.
Allison’s fiction and poetry has appeared in publications including Best Australian Poems, Going Down Swinging, Etchings, Page Seventeen, Rabbit, Collarbones, Aesthetica and Escape Anthology.
A graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), Allison has written within the arts, curating for publications such as Culturehall and contributing to Kill Your Darlings, Literary Minded, Indie London and The Enthusiast.
Her work has been shortlisted for the Carmel Bird Short Fiction Award, for the Aesthetica UK Annual Creative Writing Competition and twice shortlisted for the Martha Richardson Poetry Prize.
Allison is currently working her novel-length manuscript under an Australian Society of Authors awarded mentorship with author Toni Jordan. She is also the recipient of a 2014 Glenfern Fellowship for her manuscript in progress.
I would be erring not to note Allison Browning’s ‘These Bones’, which features Enzo, a gay man with Alzheimer’s, who makes a break from his care facility in order to go home to his partner, Nev. The helpful biography section informs me Browning is developing ‘These Bones’ as a novel with the assistance of the annual Australian Society of Authors’ mentorship program. So look out for the longer version of this beautifully rendered love story soon-ish (hopefully!). It shows love at its most enduring and blind best, underscoring what it means to love someone come rain or shine. I defy anyone not to fall in love with Enzo, and feel for his and Nev’s loss, and Nev is an absolute stalwart. There is a description of a shower they have after Enzo has wet himself, the two of them standing in the shower ‘firm as anchors, wet as fishes’—a perfect combination of strength and fragility, (and which Kennedy appropriately chose for the title of this section of stories set against the backdrop of illness).
—John Boland, Musings of a Literary Dilettante
Allison Browning’s, ‘These bones’, is, we learn from the biographies, an excerpt from her current novel-in-progress. It’s about Enzo, a gay man with dementia. He’s in a care facility and misses waking up next to Nev. He might have dementia, but he still manages to escape the facility, despite its security-coded doors:
Today is a gardening day, the kind where no gloves are needed because the earth is warm and kind to the skin and the dirt feels soothing on the flesh.
We do meet Nev at the end, and he is as tolerant and loving as Enzo remembers and deserves. I’m intrigued now about the novel.
—Sue Terry, Whisperinggums.com
Allison Browning writes of mature weathered love. Enzo has dementia and the home is both alien and familiar. He wants to awake beside his partner Nev but time warps and memories waver and he is constantly distressed by the current self and the self of his dreams. ‘He is no longer the young man he was moments ago, without lines and the notations that time leaves.’ (224) But Nev still sees him through eyes of love: ‘He looks worn, his body deflated, but the essence of him fills the space somehow like the echo of laughter in a room’ (233).