Just a few days short of our tenth wedding anniversary, my wife asks me if I’ve ever heard of the Poles Of Inaccessibility.
Naturally, I lie and turn away. My attentions are elsewhere, what with the match being on and us the wrong side of a one nil score line, in a game I desperately want to win.
‘Apparently,’ she continues, assuming I am listening to her and not to the football. ‘One’s in the South Pacific, somewhere between Australia and South America and the other, the Continental Pole, is the place on land furthest away…’
I curse, as we concede another, a sucker punch on the break. My wife screws her face into a question. ‘Fascinating,’ she says. ‘Isn’t it?’
After the match I make for an early night and, as I slip in and out of that cushioned gap between two worlds, I wait for her to come to bed and fill the space beside me. Eventually she settles with a quiet ‘Goodnight’ and turns away, our spines parallel, knees at right angles to the hip.
I am awake now, lying still in the dark. Some of the things I think about are:
The girl I dated the summer I left college, the bald patch that blindsided me late last year and, the itch on my back I can’t get to, to scratch.
Instead, I imagine my wife dreaming of eagles high above the mountains in Kazakhstan, those ocean depths where life struggles to catch hold because the currents don’t reach, the kind of places satellites go to die.
Steven Moss is from Manchester, UK. His work is published in the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology 2016, To Carry Her Home and the NFFD Anthology 2017, Sleep Is A Beautiful Colour. He also appears online at places such as Jelly Fish Review, National Flash, 101 Words, Ad Hoc Fiction and Hour of Writes. Best Small Fictions 2016 Nominee.