Masquerade by Denise O’Hagan

Wednesday 22 August 1979, Hong Kong International Airport
Anna sets her bag down; he was right, she shouldn’t have bought so many gifts. But Venice was an awful long way from Melbourne and who knew if she’d be back? Especially if they were going to tie the knot – she’d nursed the hope for so long now it was starting to curl at the edges like her grandmother’s photos and slip into the past before it ever happened. Tucking in layers of tissue over the top of her bag so it would be safe in the hat-rack, she catches her thumb on something sharp, and watches as a single red droplet makes slow, bulbous inroads on the white of the tissue paper.