Flash Fiction I: Love Like You

I always thought I might be bad/ Now I’m sure that it’s true
‘Cause I think you’re so good/ And I’m nothing like you

“Love Like You”   Rebecca Sugar


She is something much bigger than life. Standing near her makes me feel a big balloon swelling in my stomach. I know that if she would only touch me, I would pop. A part of me wants this to happen. To explode into tiny pieces of myself, dancing on the wind—to die by her hand, that would be something worthwhile.

Breakfast in our apartment—so early that the sunlight is shy and gentle. She is curled in a faded armchair, scratchy sweater hanging off of her shoulders, both hands wrapped around a mug of tea. I balance a bowl of cereal, so full near tipping, and sit on the floor, back against the sagging couch.

“Lola,” I say, and she looks up, “you make mornings feel less cold.”

She smiles at that. “It won’t be long before spring.” Then, stands. She stretches upwards, arms to the sky, and lets out a sleepy voice yawn. “And then summer, and then I can stay home.” She crosses the room, leaving her emptied mug by the kitchen sink. I watch her disappear into the bedroom, then return with dark jeans on beneath her sweater. “Until then, though,” she continues, “I have class.”

“I don’t like it when you go.”

“I know, darling.” She reaches me, then bends over and kisses the top of my head. Pop. “But, it won’t be long.”

When she is gone, I don’t know what to do with myself. It’s like no matter how much I eat, I’m still empty. It’s like no matter how many things I turn on and leave playing, the apartment is still too big and quiet. I take a long shower just to feel my skin tingle beneath the hot water. I lie in bed, swaddled in towels, until I’m shivering again. I take three more showers before the day is over, and I’m never clean enough.

When the sun is out in full, golden rays sprawling across the floor, I go to sweep myself up off the living room floor—still by the couch, where she left me. I am a soft, shining pile of something sweet, and I cup all that I can in my palm. Out the window, I blow myself to the wind. Eyes closed—imagining her skin bare against mine. The day when she is so near to me that all of me will explode. I am so heavy with her presence that I feel it must be soon.

Washing our dishes from this morning. She is downtown, mind wide open, taking notes with her delicate hand. The birds that fly by our window are the same she has followed with her eye from her seat in a classroom. My hands are hidden beneath a bushel of soap bubbles, sliding around ceramic in warm water. Water up to my elbows, then dripping down when I raise my arm. Lola likes to tell me that I’m a messy girl. I let the water splash—the front of my shirt wet, heavy and warm against my cold belly. Covered in water, warm water, embryotic water. I am heavy.

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