My story has been longlisted in the Reflex Press Quarterly International Flash Fiction Awards 2021.
You fold yourself into tiny spaces, words come at you like rain. You tuck in your arms and feet – soles digging into your calves – so that the words don’t slice your limbs. You hide your competition win in case it’s seen as an indulgence, like the cakes you get for afternoon tea: Miniature, crustless cucumber sandwiches, cakes and scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Saliva lines your lips as you imagine this.
You squeeze your words into shorter sentences and, sometimes, single words. Your arms sting with the folding and the tucking. The tiny spaces make her feel bigger, less threatened; more. You listen hard and speak less, reaching a point where the bird flying overhead, beyond the skylights, provides the distraction you need.
‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ she asks, but you know you can’t give a proper answer.
‘I forgot,’ you say, and take a swig of hot tea, the mug leaving a ring on the mat. This will be noted… continue reading at Reflex Press.