You sit five feet across from your murderess. Your intestines gnarled by decades of emotional constipation bend you chest to knees. At first blush, your asymmetric physiognomy suggests prior stroke. But she clearly knows you have disconnected one side of your brain from the rest of your body: ignorance of its existence retarding holistic development. The diminished left side of your body, its failure to thrive, visually represents the denial of your right hemisphere.
Her rhythmic breathing haunts as she waits patiently for a crack to occur. A fissure. A chasm, no matter how narrow will suffice, allowing her words to slip through and sprout roots, enveloping the entirety of your heart complex with a tenacity you will be impotent to defeat. Knowing the roots will never leave once they grab hold, you refuse to breathe. Futile perhaps, but you believe you owe this much to the delusions that have befriended you and guided you this far.
A small noise. A knuckle popping?
“A person can only experience joy to the degree they are willing to experience pain,” she says. Her furnace-fired words drip slip from the ice floe protecting heart from brain.
“It’s not like you can reject pain, but accept joy,” she adds, sitting wrapped in a calm you covet. She knows the adage, the person who speaks first loses.
More dripping. More slipping.
Curiosity defies you, “Oh?” you question, becoming both destroyer and savior.
Constance Malloy is the author of Tornado Dreams. Her flash is in or is forthcoming in Bending Genres, New Flash Fiction Review and The Daily Drunk, Sledgehammer, talking about strawberries all of the time, and Rejection Letters. Her work has been anthologized, nominated for Best Microfiction, and shortlisted for Fractured Lit’s Micro contest. She is currently a fiction editor at New Flash Fiction Review. Follow her at constancemalloy.com or on Twitter @ConstanceMall13.