Always have a long-term project and do a little each chance you get. Make sure it takes years, he admonished my sister and me. A project you never think you’ll finish.
I was thinking how quiet the world could seem when Melina was quiet. How, at moments like this, so hard won, three didn’t seem like such a bad number.
Alma knows this child. Twenty years ago this child was her daughter. Like Becca, she lives in a force field where the slightest touch startles her. Sure enough, when her mother inches over to whisper in her ear, the child pulls away. Alma knows this child. A hug or a kiss would make her flinch. Alma and her husband hold their forks like scepters. They can’t eat. They can’t drink. The child glances at them, flaps.
The first few weeks have been a tangled mess of nightmares so twisted with reality that I can no longer discern the difference. I try to carry on like nothing has changed. Each morning I slide reluctantly from the warm embrace of my bed and force myself to dress.
Some days you sit together on the bench swing in the yard, counting the number of lizards that run around you, or take early morning walks around the neighborhood, admiring the shades of yellows and corals and blues, which are brighter before the humidity covers everything with its familiar haze.
Her son turns over, away from her, mumbles in his sleep. She strains to hear if she can make out actual words, yearns for a glimpse into his inner thoughts, the ones he used to share with her, but that he now keeps locked away. He sighs, and she resists the urge to shake him awake, demand that he talk.
We publish stories with strong narrative structure, great characters, interesting settings, beautiful language, and complicated themes. Have you written such a story? Read more about submitting your work here.