Fallacies of the Heart
Over the past decade, I had the privilege of being part of a flash fiction community writing event on a popular social media art site. I’ve pulled a few of my favorites to share. Please note, these are all first drafts. You’ve been warned.
The medallion itself was a little smaller than a dime and the etching was delicate. She supposed that made sense, after all, the whole fucking relationship was pretty delicate. From beginning to end, it seemed like one wrong word or one errant gaze sent the house of cards they called a partnership into collapse.
I actually can’t think of a time in which you’ve described a good experience with her, her best friend had said.
She examined the medallion. The fading engraving of a heart, the silver plate rubbing off the edges revealing the brassy metal underneath. The necklace wasn’t very old either, but it was run down anyway. That’s the thing about gilded things. They are simply masks, something pretty to disguise the shitty reality underneath—nameless metal alloys or an infatuation masquerading as true love.
She threw the thing across the room with a guttural shout that raked across her tonsils, leaving a hot stinging discomfort in its wake. It hit the mirror they’d picked out at an antique shop together, sending it crashing to the ground, broken. She let out a choked sob. That tracks.
Her throat felt tight. The entire past year was just a fucking farce and she was left so angry, so bitter, that despite her best efforts at grace, here she was on the floor again, tears burning angry paths down her cheeks and absolutely everything in ruins around her.
She’s eating you alive, man, her brother had said.
This fucking thing was consuming her life. She lost a major contract at work because she couldn’t focus on anything other than trying to pick up a sandcastle; trying to keep the granules from sliding between fingers. She couldn’t focus on anything other than this mirage of a relationship so much so that her career was suffering, her friendships, her physical health, all of it falling apart in the interest of trying to reach an oasis that simply did not exist.
She wasn’t sure where she was going to come up with the rent money this month.
The ceiling fan circled lazily, gently, off kilter just a little bit. She wasn’t sure exactly how she got to the floor to be able to watch the ceiling fan in the first place, but since she was here, she might as well relax. Think of all the other things that made up her shit show of a life.
I don’t hate her, I hate what this is doing to you, her mother had said.
At some point, she must have fallen asleep, because the sound of her phone buzzing on the hardwood reminding her that tonight was trash night. Night had fallen. Night was hardest.
Her dog got up from his place on the couch, stretched, and hopped over, licking her hand and nudging her face, and somehow, something inside her snapped.
Enough. She was radiant and funny and silly and compassionate. She had a sharp wit and was amazing at her job. She deserved better.
Fuck this misery.
It was time to take her life back.
(originally published 2021/07/06)