Girija Tropp ~ Once I Was Honey

2012-02-05 17.18.35

I want to com­mit the details of this win­ter to mem­o­ry and next year I will be able to fig­ure out small dif­fer­ences. All around where I sit at the bar, this black and steel enclave, the roast­ing of cof­fee beans is tak­ing place in gleam­ing met­al bar­rels attached to flash­ing pan­els and space age exhaust pip­ing. I can’t tell skill lev­els of the staff. I can­not tell if I will recov­er my abil­i­ty to distinguish.

The ambu­lance came for my ex two days ago and I should real­ly stay home to enjoy the house. I have dis­cov­ered an abil­i­ty to relax in the face of some­one who is dying slow­ly and painful­ly. My sis­ter said that the world is the reflec­tion of my inter­nal space. I am okay with her say­ing this. I per­fect the art of the relaxed, so much so that I wor­ry about being too grave.

A stu­dent of my ex has giv­en him a Bugs Bunny and he took it with him in the ambu­lance. When I came into the kitchen in the morn­ing I found splash­es of pump­kin soup on the floor and fin­ger­prints of it on the bench. When I passed his room he had been curled up, shrunk­en. Then I heard yelp­ing like a pup­py. I relaxed the mus­cles in my face and went to ask if I should call triple zero.

Please don’t talk to me like that, he said, and began to cry.

I was at a loss to know what he meant.


Girija Tropp’s fic­tion has appeared in sev­eral Best Australian Short Stories edi­tions. She has pub­lished in The Boston Review, Agni, and has also won or been short-list­ed for major awards. Recently, her work has been anthol­o­gized in Café Irreal and Smokelong QuarterlyThe Best of the First Ten Years. She lives in Australia.