But now, he’s hungry.
Husband walks in, his teeth shining bright, a big smile on his face, like he’s just entered heaven, he throws his jacket on the floor, takes off his shoes, yelling, honey, I’m home, like in the movies, but we’re not in a movie, it’s not like he missed me, only he’s hungry, he wants dinner served. I ask him to sweep off his feet, but he doesn’t, he doesn’t listen, he never does, he wants to sweep his hunger on me instead, sitting on the couch, turning on the TV, then looking me in the eye, still smiling, as if asking, what takes you so long?
Once, he was gold.
But now, he’s starving.
He doesn’t know yet, but last night, I gave birth to myself. That was a hard night, a painful labor. I’m raising me now and that’s already too much of a burden. It’s hard to raise yourself, or anybody. The baby me has swept me off my feet, like husband did when we first met, exhilaration invades my mind, my heart, my soul, the alchemist awakened, turning pain into gold, then gold into new life, the alchemist that once turned him into gold, the alchemist I thought he had killed, and I don’t need him now, undone is all this damage that got me older, or pregnant, I’m no longer the old wrinkled me, holding the new me in my arms, I am now renewed, polished, bright and shiny, like I was when we first met.
Then, he was gold.
But now, he’s hungry.
He makes a gesture, doesn’t even talk, claiming he’s ready, ready to be served, but I’m too busy, I say. I’m now a full time parent. I have to take care of the newborn. He frowns, his white teeth don’t shine now, the halo above his head fades, reverse alchemy is harder, but I excel at it, I turned gold into carbon, into life, for life is better than gold, you’re so full of yourself, he says, still hungry, but so full of himself he never noticed I’d been pregnant, and despite his intentions, I take that as a compliment; I’m twice what I used to be, now that I hold me in my arms, now that, once more, I see gold and turn it back into the life I lost.
Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist, from Athens, Greece. A Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions nominated writer, her work can be found in many journals, such as Litro, Jellyfish Review, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Moon Park Review, Okay Donkey, Kanstellation, Open Pen and others.