Flash Fiction.

The upside down world.

She gazes at the sea and wonders. What would it be like to live in the upside down world? The one that she sees so clearly reflected on the still of the water’s surface. The clumsy mirroring as if on foil. The world pouring over the skyline and settling on the surface of the ocean. It reminds her of the coagulated layer sitting grimly on the top of soup. The yellow house, buttery to her eye is drooping into a watery tornado. The colours are blurring. The chimneys are smoking into the airless space. Bird’s wings are flapping upside down. Where are they going? She ponders.

The light shimmers brightly below. In disorder. The fluffy cumulus above her melt gently through the horizon, marred and diluted, swallowed by the ocean. The trees bob, losing themselves, intertwining, separated by horizontal streaks of light getting smaller and smaller until they are engulfed too. Where do they evaporate to? She asks herself.

She treads past puddles, inspecting which part of this other life they will convey on their surfaces. Past the extending sea. But it keeps changing. The reflections ebb and flow with the world around her.

Yet it is different. Because there, things are permeable. Floating like the messiness of her imagination. Her thoughts are never quite a clear image. Akin to the foggy distortion of this upside down paradise. She wants to dive into it. To be swallowed into a place where her feet mingle with the ceiling of a forest. On muddled strokes of green posing as grass. She wants to be painted into this landscape. Dampened and blended softly. Her colours oozing. Mixing.

She would be distilled with the water. She would breathe with the trees. And she would move with the ink. She would look up at the seemingly perfect and stable world and notice how it too changes. How it too is unstable. And how it too merges and moves and disappears.

She looks down. Her feet are planted on the bumpy tarmac road. Her hair is tickling her neck as it wrestles helplessly with the breeze. Her body a seemingly solid fixture. Permanent. She closes her eyes. She feels herself expanding. She breathes in the salty sea air. She feels it pour over her and seep into her veins. She feels it moisten her skin. Turning her to liquid. Inking her colours. Imprinting her on its surface.

Flash Fiction. Thoughts Words.

Own your story.

Her back aches. The books got too heavy. She couldn’t read them. The language was ambiguous and chapters continued in disdainful jargon. She felt like pages were missing in places and piled in others.

She tried learning to decipher the words. But she lost the battle. She tried getting it translated. But no one else could interpret it. She had to go back. And start at page one. And watch the pages turn into chapters. And let the weight leave her. As pages flew from her grip and floated away. Emboldened. And she was free. Everything her mind told her not to do she did. Everything the pain told her she needed she let go of. And piece by piece the puzzle joined together. From corner piece to middle she formed great mosaics of colour.

She had to go back to go forward. Around to go straight. Look down to see up. She had to love the blemished paper before she could turn it over. She had to experience the paper cuts. And only when she knew the story did she realises which characters were most important. In ways she could never have imagined.

And so she understood. She had to publish her book or she would never know what it could have been. Who it could have reached. For she saw light in the most painful chapters. In the most hurtful words she found space. In the most shameful moments lay lessons. In the failures she discovered victories. And in the moments she thought she had crumbled she found strength.

Flash Fiction.

20 Years Stolen by a Single Letter.

She slugs the end of her coffee, cold and brittle settling like silt on her tongue.

She swallows unknowing. Around her there is white clinical walls extending from corner to corner. There is a blemish in their intersection, but she doesn’t notice.

There is a painting, smudged on a canvas. A blur. An insignificant stroke of a brush. No different to that of a couple trying out paint colours for their first shared bedroom. And yet he’s gone.

Her phone buzzes absently in the background, like tinnitus in her ears. So many people vying for her attention like it’s a commodity that can be attained and toyed with. Absent breaths emerge from her in sighs. She doesn’t notice.

His phone was always there. Always the antagonist that disrupted a shared meal, the intruder that demanded to be answered in the most intimate of moments, the contender who stole 20 years of marriage from her, with one text.

‘Harry will you collect the kids tomorrow? Thanks, A.’

White clinical walls surrounded her 20 years earlier too. Branding her as infertile, accusing her of being worthless. Silent car journeys. Unspoken conversations. A rushed marriage to prove he still loved her.

And yet here she sits, barren. Gaping like a wound that never quite heals. Wrapped in a flimsy tourniquet that never feels quite right. That falls off after 20 years leaving a scar exposed in plain sight, for all to see. For all to pry open with pity and ‘thinking of you cards’ and suggestions of single bachelors who never wanted kids anyway.

And ‘A’. Fruitful bearer of his kids. Every hidden notification, every hushed phone call, every text demanding attention.

Avoided conversations. Faked orgasms. Failed IVF.

20 years stolen by a single letter.