Avital Gad-Cykman


She wakes to the sound of beat­ing wings and a bit­ter wind formed by dark­ness. She is late, still tied to a dream about miss­ing him at a bus sta­tion, then at a train sta­tion and then at an airport.

Solid-rock is how she wants him. This is not about sex. It’s not about beau­ty or the late-night con­ver­sa­tions they used to have long ago. No.  It’s about famil­iar­i­ty, about putting her cheek to his bel­ly and feel­ing the tight warm skin of his thin body.

She tells him her dream, her late­ness, miss­ing him in all of her loca­tions. When she dreams again, she retells it and he lis­tens in silence.

He is with her, hav­ing the cof­fee she brews every morn­ing. Yet, she fears he is gone.

This is mooost irrrreg­u­lar,” he says with their old physi­cian’s fun­ny accent to make her laugh.

She smiles.

What a waste,” he says point­ing at the ken­nel out­side the window.

She knows. Their dog used the ken­nel for a week, then aban­doned it.  The floor and walls gath­er dust.

It’s the breed.  You know they don’t like con­fine­ment,” he says.

She opens the door and throws a dog­gie snack smelling like bones into the wood­en ken­nel. It lands on the aban­doned rug doll the dog once liked to chew. The dog slides in, head down, picks up the snack and walks back to the lawn.

She and her hus­band stand close, fac­ing the cold wind. She feels his chest under his flap­ping frayed shirt and leans into him. Rain falls. Their clutched arms are home.


Avital Gad-Cykman’s book, the flash col­lec­tion Life In, Life Out was pub­lished by Matter Press in 2014. Her sto­ries have been pub­lished in The Literary Review, CALYX Journal, Glimmer Train, McSweeney’s, Prism International, Michigan Quarterly Review and else­where. They have also been fea­tured in antholo­gies such as W.W. Norton’s International Flash Anthology, Sex for America, Politically Inspired Fiction, Stumbling and Raging, Politically Inspired Fiction Anthology, The Flash, and The Best of Gigantic. She is the win­ner of Margaret Atwood Society Magazine Prize, placed first in The Hawthorne Citation Short Story Contest, and was a final­ist for Iowa Fiction Award for sto­ry col­lec­tions. She lives in Brazil.