I can’t look at him, she told me then turned and severed the line of bodies at the register as she made her way to the back door.
I followed her through the rear of the building into the rutted parking lot where she stopped, leaning against the fence with a stiff arm, her purse dropping to her elbow, head down, giving the impression of a decapitated creature exhausted from some fruitless search. I reached for her shoulder. She was trembling. Samantha, I whispered and any words that might have followed failed to render. I just can’t stand it, she said. I know. It kills me to see him; he’s gone, gone like he’s dead and that’s some hideous ghost who has stolen his face. He’s just sick, Sam. I know what the fuck is happening; don’t treat me like a child. She started sobbing, her body convulsing against the palm of my hand. She resisted briefly as I pulled her close to me. This isn’t like cancer where he’ll be sick and suffer and then get well. She was pushing the words through some boundary within herself, the struggle leaving residual bits of pain on each damaged sound that fell from her mouth as if they had no intention of leaving and wanted nothing to do with the world beyond the dark cavern of her body. The tears soaked my shoulder. The sun faded. We stood that way for a very long time. I don’t remember when we finally made it back to the car.
Chrysalis, a growing collection of very short fiction.
Unless noted, all pics credited to Skitz O'Fuel.