A Life Defined

by | Apr 5, 2022 | Fiction, Issue Twenty Six

bal·​ance (n.) 1. your displaced tooth smiles at you from across the piss-stained floor. 2. its useless black roots probe empty spaces. 3. a stranger rolls you over and drives his palms into your chest. 4. his words crackle like power lines. 5. fucking breathe. 6. one, two, three, four…

blue (adj.) 1. bruises. 2. lips. 3. fingertips. 4. her eyes.

fab·​ri·​ca·​tion (n.) 1. your wife asks about your day. 2. you say it was fine.

for·​get (v.) 1. the corners of her photograph curl in the flames. 2. engulfing you in the hopeful blue of her gaze. 3. reducing everything to ash.

in·​her·​i·​tance (n.) 1. a dozen white pills roll around your palm like dice. 2. you swallow them with a bottle of Smirnoff. 3. you think of your father.

purge (v.) 1. the cubicle walls melt into pastel waterfalls. 2. pools of multi-coloured vomit. 3. the loo seat glowers; says you’re fucking useless. 4. in your father’s voice. 5. your body fizzes like cheap champagne. 6. as your face collides with the cold tile of a petrol station toilet.

rel·​ic (n.) 1. your father kept the mass card from your mother’s funeral in a sock drawer beside a Smith & Wesson model 586 revolver. 2. it’s the same one he fired into his mouth one Sunday morning after church.

un·​teth·​ered (v.) 1. she bundles items from the chest of drawers, depositing them into an open suitcase. 2. a bottle of Smirnoff swings menacingly in your hand as you watch her. 3. you shake the contents of a brown plastic bottle into your palm. 4. as the door clicks behind her.

verge (n.) 1. the stranger’s hands are rough, unsure of themselves. 2. a noiseless crack, you feel something break. 3. five… six… seven… come on… eight… nine… 4. breathe.

win·​dow (n.)  1. the following day your wife will receive a phone call. 2. and you’ll hurt her one last time, but that’s still to come. 3. for now her thumb taps the beat to ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor on the steering wheel. 4. her foot presses the accelerator, expanding the distance between you. 5. the road ahead clear.

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