Saturday 18 June 2022

Debut Flash: 'Needs A Good Clean' by Lauren Selcouth

It punched the air from my lungs; carefully wrapped, lazily hidden. Searching for something at the back of the wardrobe—naked as I came—and there it was. Two delicate cups of pure white prettiness; its beautifully neat stitching unravelling me. Cherri is her name, with a heart above the i. I traced my fingertips down the embroidery, in the same way my husband must have done. A different kind of shiver ran through me. Mine settled in a soupy wadge, not of jealousy, more an aching nostalgia.

I held the knickers against me and peered into the mirror; I looked ridiculous. Tan lines well faded, flesh well-fed, holding up this tiny T shaped hell. My hand brushed the lumpy line across my stomach, where thick blue nylon strands once kept me together—they still keep us together. I wore something similar, once. Not for him though.

An agreement, unspoken in the main. We need different things—we also need the same things. That’s why, while there is children’s laughter in this house, we'll both be here too. And all of us are happy. I wonder if she knows that?

Nothing good has ever come from tap tap tapping into someone’s online life. I did it anyway. She was as I expected; as I am not. But it’s her I’m sad for. All that painting and polishing and she still only gets the part of my husband I don’t want.

I flicked through her photos (he’s not in them), then her items for sale. I’d always wondered, what sort of person—what sort of woman—does this? Now I know: Fridge For Sale, Needs A Good Clean.

I carefully put the underwear back. He won’t be leaving me for this one.

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