Saturday, March 03, 2007

This is for a flash fiction class I'm taking.
It's hard to write fiction. It hurts.

Activities of Daily Living

I. Claire in her Doctor’s Office

The poster over his desk says Hang In There, Baby, above a kitten dangling from a branch. The kitten’s belly is fluffy and large, inviting Claire’s fingers. The kitten opens its mouth and blinks at Claire. She looks away. On the other wall a Picasso rearranges itself. Woman on the beach. As Claire watches, the pieces of the woman begin to drift away -- one fades into the horizon, another sinks into the sand. Claire picks at her fingernail polish. The doctor continues to write something in her chart. A trio of purple irises leer at her from the plastic vase on his desk. One leans over his elbow and watches him write, then stares up into his face. Obnoxious, Claire thinks. So, the doctor says, finally turning to Claire. He straightens the seams in his slacks. How are the voices?

II. Claire at the Community Pool

The smell is hard to define, but gets into Claire’s eyes. Her mother sits in the bleachers, buttoning and unbuttoning her pink cardigan. Three times a week they’re here; exercise is supposed to help with the side effects. Claire clings to the side of the pool and adjusts her navy blue one-piece. It sags at her ass when wet. Two dark children splash and yell at the other end of the pool, their voices echoing off the concrete ceiling. Everything is painted peach. Claire watches the crack in the ceiling get bigger. Her mother claps her hands and Claire ducks her head underwater, swims along the bottom for a few yards. A milky film stirs up, reaches for Claire. The medication makes it so hard to move. She’ll just sit for a moment and rest. She looks up through the water and sees the ceiling crack open. The navy blue sky is filled with blinking stars the size of kittens. One of them has His face.

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