funk

It doesn’t take long after losing a ton of weight when you get into a funk of sorts… when the high you get from people telling you how great you look wears off after your loss starts stalling. You want to lose more, of course, but you just can’t. (Dammit. Now what?) You want to revert back to your old ways of dealing with a funk—food. Glorious food: chips, burgers, fries, pizza, cookies, ice cream. But if you do that you won’t be able to stop, and then you’ll start gaining all that fucking weight back. (At least it will fill in the sagging skin?) Instead of eating away at the funk, you start drinking. Not enough to become a drunk, but enough to feel good. (All the time.) You start calling into work because you just can’t get out of bed; because when you do, you’ll need a drink and then another. Just enough to feel good, to feel that high you once had when people stopped you to tell you how awesome you were looking before the stall.

Soon you start noticing the creases in your forehead are getting deeper. You think about getting onto one of those makeover shows where they, for free, surgically remove the flabby loose skin from the weight loss and shoot the creases in your forehead up with Botox. (What are the chances of you getting chosen for something like that though?) It’s maddening to you because all you want is to feel good, to feel content with your body, your face.

But the skin. The flab. The creases. They get more and more noticeable, and, by god, one morning when looking at your face in the mirror, the creases on your forehead start taunting you. Motherfuckers. You grab the scissors kept in the medicine cabinet and start slicing into those creases. Blood starts pouring from your incisions, clouding your vision. But you keep going.

Anything to get out of this funk.

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{a little piece of flash fiction inspired by the FUNK word prompt at trifecta}

 

always and forever

I stopped staying late at the office after the incident with Andrew. I knew I couldn’t trust myself.

Obviously.

Instead, I put all my energy where it should’ve been—my engagement with Jason. We spent the next several weekends scoping out venues, narrowing down choices, picking a date. But the fact is we still lacked any real physical intimacy and that bothered me. A lot.

What was I going to do? I was living in this tiny fucking apartment with Jason, whom I loved with all my heart, but he wouldn’t touch me.

Why was I just now letting this bother me? Our relationship was never very physical—ever—so why was it bothering me now? The idea of spending the rest of my life with someone who didn’t touch me is why. Hello, Karianne! Physical intimacy is important. It may not be everything, it may not be the end all to living the rainbow life, but it’s important.

I called up my best girlfriend who lived back home, fifteen hundred miles away, and told her what had happened. I told her about sleeping with Andrew, I told her about wanting to do it again, I told her about him being married with kids, I told her I was a slut and a home wrecker. I told her my life was fucked.

“What the hell are you gonna do?” Sharon chimed in when I finally stopped yammering.

“I have no idea.”

“You love Jason, right?”

“Ohmygod yes. Of course.”

“Can you live without sex?”

“I mean…” I pressed my fingers to my head in the hopes that it would prevent my head from pounding further. “Not forever.”

“Well, maybe you need to initiate more?”

“Sharon! I’ve tried. I’ve done so many different things. He’s been like this forever.”

Sharon didn’t say anything.

“Six years we’ve been together, Sharon. Six years.”

“I know. And I know you love him, but if it’s always been like this, what makes you think anything will change?”

 

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Aside

Via

Via, short for Olivia, was an amazing mama. She oozed love, comfort, and grace toward her mini-me, Lanie.

Two peas in a pod Via and Lanie were: they looked alike with their thick dark hair, bangs abruptly cut by the eyebrow line; they were both a little chunky; and they even dressed alike.

Via tended to little Lanie with such grace, always keeping an eye on her when her actual hands weren’t available– which wasn’t that often. When Lanie wanted to slide, Via got up from the small group of adults congregating on the patio and hovered a bit over wobbly Lanie. When Lanie’s mouth seemed dry, Via was right there offering a sippy cup of water.

At one point during the Labor Day barbeque, I noticed Lanie sitting in a chair on the patio with a yellow-frosted cupcake. Some of the cake and lots of the frosting ended up on Lanie’s purple dress. Soon her dad Darren slammed down his beer bottle, found a napkin, and started wiping the front of Lanie’s dress while looking around the yard.

“Oh no, did she spill?” Via sang as she swooped toward her family.

“Uh yeah.”

“Poor thing, it’s okay.”

“Maybe if you were watching her more carefully this wouldn’t have happened,” Darren snapped under his breath, plastic smile on.

“Oh it’s okay,” Via continued to sing to Lanie.

Darren tossed the napkin on the table, clutched the brown beer bottle, and glided back to the group of guys he was talking to before he was horribly interrupted. Via scooped Lanie into her lap and they both finished the cupcake.

 

About a month after the barbeque, Via, neighbor to my sister who hosted the barbeque, was in the hospital. Rumor has it she tried killing herself and Lanie by driving the car they were both in off the side of the highway and straight into a ditch at full speed.

 

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summer break

She glared into my eyes and clasped my wrist as tears started blurring my vision. I tried to hold them back, but couldn’t. I tried begging her to stop, but the words were trapped deep inside. She knew I was terrified and I swear she was grinning.

As if to mark me with a brand, she took the lit cigarette from her lips with her middle finger and thumb and jammed the ember of it into the palm of the hand she held so tightly it bruised.

I was sure the cigarette burned all the way through to the outside of my hand. I was sure she was crucifying me with it.

“If you ever so much as look away from me when I tell you what to do, I will do worse than this.” Her words spat onto my face.

The scream that escaped from me begged for her release but she clenched on even tighter.

“Do you fucking understand?”

“Yes,” I sobbed.

She threw my wrist away from her and I ran into the bathroom to shove my hand into the cold toilet water.

When I pulled my hand out of the toilet, and looked at my burned palm for the first time, I could see she hadn’t crucified me after all. There was a small hole in my palm, almost perfectly in the center, but it wasn’t as deep as it felt.

When Ma got home, Sissy told her I tried grabbing something from her and accidentally grabbed her cigarette.

“Why were you smoking inside?” Ma asked her before turning to me and barking, “And why can’t you keep your hands to yourself?”

Ma sauntered off to the fridge for a beer and Sissy winked at me.

 

 

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Aside

this time

“Nooooooo! I want Mommy!!”

She keeps whining and thrashing about in bed. Just like most nights. Anything to get my attention. Anything to get me in her room again. Anything to stall closing those eyes and going to sleep.

“It’s Bor-ring,” she whines when I tell her to just close her eyes and relax–or, my personal favorite, “But then I can’t see!”

You’re so clever. You really are. You have an old soul. I’ve been told this numerous times about you.

You can see it when you look into her eyes.

It’s like she’s known me for years when we just met! 

She’s an old soul, that one.

I know they’re right, too. I know you’re an old soul. I know you’re much wiser beyond your two years. But I also know you’ve got to get some sleep.

Because if you don’t, I don’t; and if I don’t, the world best look out.

“Noooo! I want mommy. I want MOMMY!”

When I can’t take it anymore I go toward your room. The plan, like always, is to not even really look at you, but to stand in the doorway and ask what the problem is… only this time, your screams and whines are at a new volume I didn’t think was even possible to reach.

This time, it’s like I’m finally able to grasp what you’ve been trying to tell me all along.

This time when I quietly push the door more open, I can’t help but notice how terrified you are… So I follow your gaze to the corner behind the door. And I see him. The shadow. The dark shadow wearing a hat.

The burning vomit creeps into my throat as I take the most deliberate blink in all my life and when I open my eyes again, there’s nothing there.

I turn back toward you and you’re sound asleep. So peaceful looking.

I snap my head back toward the corner and there’s nothing… this time.

 

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more than a little

Vinnie was just a small boy when I dreamed an entire cake had been smashed into his face. Well, in the dream he was a boy—maybe 5 or so—but in reality we were already adults. A couple years later when we were celebrating his sons 3rd birthday with cake and ice cream and his son dove his face into his cake, I suddenly recollected the dream I’d had years before.

It made me smile.

Vinnie is a good brother to me and we were always quite inseparable. That’s why one dream that I’d had on more than one occasion growing up didn’t make much sense to me:

There’s a building. A school perhaps. I’m inside a car. Windows rolled down. Daddy is there, but not Vinnie.

I had the same dream more than once and I always felt a little off whenever I woke remembering it.

Does that happen to you? Do you dream about something vividly and then forget about it until something in real life happens to bring you back to that dream? Or is that just me?

Because the unsettling dream that Vinnie wasn’t a part of came back to haunt me recently: I was sitting in my Toyota with the windows open waiting for my daughter to exit school. It was Tuesday and on Tuesdays we have to band together so I can whisk her off to gymnastics. I heard the school bell ring, but instead of seeing the school building she attends, it was the building from the dream I’d had 15 years ago.

Daddy is there. He’s talking to little girls. And he’s walking toward me and the car with little girls by his side. The door to the school opens and a little girl looks directly at me and smiles and runs toward me.

It’s my little girl.

The flash from the past is gone, but I’m left feeling a little off… more than a little, actually.

 

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this bit of flash fiction brought to you by the fine prompts at

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