The soft-boiled egg yolk was yellow and round like the great golden ball of sun setting over the veldt each evening. First, the egg was presented to her on a plate, in a little wooden cup made especially for it, along with a teaspoon. Her uncle showed her how to hit the side with the spoon and crack the creamy brown shell. She dug into the plump white flesh and the spoon filled with the golden liquid that drenched her tongue in flavour; the flavour of the small karoo bushes that looked like cushions in the shadowy early morning, just before the sun rose above the encircling mountains; the flavour of the hens, clucking busily in their straw-covered hokkie, and moving away from her with a squawk as she searched for their warm brown eggs; the flavour of the cold, clean air that she drank in great gulps. In it she could taste the stars, a maze of white pinpricks in the dark sky that lifted her father into other realms, released from his work, and noisy family life in the suburbs; the blue mountains, dusty in the afternoon light; the farmhouse a beacon in the darkness of the night.
The egg yolk gave her a place in a family of grown-ups who were all busy talking and laughing and fussing over drinks and dishes and leaving her free to be a child at large in the immense glorious landscape outside.
This is a creative writing debut for Jane Dederick after a career devoted to working in publishing, primarily as a newspaper sub-editor. She is currently a University of Cape Town graduate (BA Hons in English Literature).