Saturday 26 June 2021

'When Reginald died' by Jonathan Cardew

he left an imprint of himself on the window pane, condensation in Reginald form, fogged over blocky head, holes for eyes, u-shaped smile. His wife sat by the window and gazed at this new Reginald—Reginald beyond the grave, Reginald of frosted glass.

Reginald had been an insurance salesperson, up at five and back at nine. Always chasing. Always dreaming about something else.

In glass, his smile was kind of alluring.

Reginald’s wife exhaled onto the pane—and he faded. He became steam. It was impossible to let him go. Run over by a truck, the idiot hadn’t looked both ways. He came back, gradually; the chin first and then the u-smile and then the pissholes in the snow eyes. The hair brushed in afterwards--more stylish in her breath than ever in real life.

A shaft of sunlight speared the window pane, illuminating the condensation, making him prismatic and sparkling. More vibrant. More moisture.

When the postman came, she wiped Reginald away.  


First published in With One Eye on the Cows (Bath Flash Fiction Award Anthology, Vol IV).

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