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Rosemary on the Wind

Am I sure?

He fixes the zip to my back, mutters something about a sharp scratch.

I’m sure.

I have been instructed to curve my body “like a shrimp” so my spine curls towards him. I have a beautiful back, he tells me. Elegant. I don’t feel elegant, sitting on the metal table, feet resting on a stool with my knees under my chin. My jumper is yanked up around my ears, pale stomach exposed beneath folded arms.

In the mirror, I see the essence of us pouring from my body in a riot of colour and chaos; of course you would be the rainbow I carried around inside me.

Neon green cycling shorts. A disco ball. Sunshine and mojitos. Coconuts, Christmas lights and stories in the dark. The corner where we fell apart, where we said “catch you later” because we don’t do “goodbye”.

I watch. I burn.

New images; memories we didn’t get to make. Shingled cottage by the sea. Two rocking chairs, side by side.

It hits. It hurts.

The zip knits my skin back together. Gone, I think, and even as the word unfurls like smoke, I lose my grip on you. I need air. I have no destination in mind but my feet carry me forward. I focus on other things; birdsong, footsteps, the first fat drops of September rain.

I reach a corner where two suburban streets intersect. The houses are pastel painted; neat, unremarkable. There are herbs in the window boxes. Rosemary on the wind. A fine mist gathers about me, working at my collar then my sleeves to gain entry and make a nest of the cavern in my chest. It fails. Dissipates.

I button my coat against the peculiarity of the day and set off, in search of tea and happiness.


Flash Fiction by Alison V King

Published in Spring 2017

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