Susan Nordmark ~ Two Flash Fictions

Half Whole

His first Volkswagen was very beachy, its paint job fad­ed blue almost to white, the inte­ri­or stripped to bones. We had sex in the mid­dle of the night in the fal­low lot between ranch hous­es. I was always under­neath on the weedy ground. I dat­ed a physi­cist who smoked mar­i­jua­na to trudge through weeks of pro­gram­ming about sub­atom­ic par­ti­cles. There is no alter­na­tive med­i­cine. There are only things that work, and things that don’t work. I have bro­ken two pairs of beau­ti­ful read­ing glass­es in the past three months. A city office mails me brochures on how to turn off the gas for when the Big One hap­pens, although I can­not fol­low the writ­ten direc­tions. Musicians’ brains are wired dif­fer­ent­ly from oth­ers’. A friend of mine didn’t learn her mul­ti­pli­ca­tion tables until she was sev­en­teen. Crows remem­ber peo­ple who have cheat­ed them out of a reward, and they avoid them. Another friend came home from work and all his girlfriend’s things were gone. My friend who is blind sees not dark­ness, but vivid col­ors and shapes. Over a mil­lion Earths would fit inside the sun. In Hawaii I stood on the shore and saw the curve of the plan­et along the stretch of ocean to Japan.

 

Paper

Your first year anniver­sary is sup­posed to be paper. It is not pre­cious as per­haps it was when paper, tin, chi­na, iron were amulets to mark years you lived with some­one. Why is the first year paper when it is the year when you have no mon­ey, only change and food stamps. You lie in bed togeth­er, no clothes, through long California rains. You go out at four o’clock twi­light, jog down the road and back. You are care­less and preg­nant and the clin­ic lot is crowd­ed. You park two blocks away, you plod to the door hear­ing scream­ing. “Think of her lit­tle face–we’ll show you her pre­cious mouth, ears, eyelids—she wants to call you Mama!” What should we do now, he says after, and you say, Something nor­mal. Let’s get a Sunday Times. Sit in the park and read how lucky we are, we have clothes, we have paved roads. You press your nose into his jack­et.

~

Susan Nordmark’s short fic­tion and essays have appeared in Long Island Literary Journal, Sin Fronteras: Writers Without Borders, Entropy, Peacock Journal,Draft: The Journal of Process, Porter Gulch Review,Roar Feminist, and else­where. She stud­ied at UC Santa Cruz and Harvard and lives in Oakland, California.