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Never Bigger Than an Orange

Tiny tangerine foetuses curl as if for protection next to the glass bowl. Their delicate flesh oozes juice onto the chopping board. I place my finger on the smallest and think of the first time.

I didn’t tell early on because I thought this somehow protected me.

I arrange the tangerine slices in a swirl, nestled in half-set strawberry jelly. Thick red gloop pulls the tiniest segment down from the surface so I can barely see it. My whole hand strokes a peach’s downy covering. It fits snugly into my palm.

I saw the last baby in grainy black and white, like a photograph from before my time.

The peach separates into two halves easily with a blunt knife. I pull out the stone and press its ribbed surface between my thumb and forefinger.

We had grasped one another’s hands at the sight of a heartbeat. My ears drummed for days with the echo of it. When the bleeding started I cried from my bowels upwards. He gave me grapes and took a job out of town.

I slice the peach halves and let them sink into the red jelly bed with their siblings. Then I rinse the knife clean ready for next time.

The fruit is suspended now in time and jelly. Fingers of sponge swell as they absorb the thick liquid. I scoop up the remaining fruit on the way to my bedroom.

Under soft covers I turn to lie on my side. My hands curve around the melon placed under my shirt.

Flash Fiction by Stephanie Hutton
Picture: Orange by Brian Pirie under CC BY 2.0
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Published in Spring 2017

One Comment

  1. A subject near and dear to my heart, Stephanie. Well done you for handling pain with such beauty.

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