A new flash that I'm working on.
A Girl Named China Is Your Brittle Future
She was taking care of her terminally ill mom and a set of potted silk plants. Her words were crazy trains rushing past me, over me. We spoke between classes or when the bus broke down or under trees hiding fat squirrels with eyes that knew us. Weeks passed like slow flames. Her mother was sleeping more, talking less. I came over twice a week, brought several shades of neediness. We did it quietly in her room while her mother remained dreamless with her mouth open. I felt dizzy in that house, un-knowing myself or my motives, made stupid jokes about growing onions upside down or how during sex, our bodies sometimes squelched. China didn't laugh. Her dark eyes remained frozen, unreadable . Evenings became strained, more humid. I wondered what it would be like to plant myself in her shoes. Which way would I grow? Her mother's body had shut down, became a mysterious void.
China jumped at the beep of a feeding pump. She was becoming more obtuse, saying that she didn't believe in the word "decompose" or "dead," She said bodies evaporate the way liquids do in our experiments for Mr. Hennessey's Physical Science labs. I suspected she had a crush on him because ugly men to her were a challenge. They needed merciful weeding and make-over. They needed a patient gardener, sensitive to root need. When her mother finally evaporated, China disappeared for weeks, her rooms closed for sex. My nose itched. I gave wrong answers in Hennessey's class. My mother bought powdered milk because she believed it was healthier. When China did return from whatever state of matter or not-matter, she was mute. My thumbs hurt from planting vegetables.