Saturday 18 June 2022

'Jenny doesn't tell her therapist everything' by Gillian O’Shaughnessy

She doesn’t say she leaves home at the same time every morning for something to do and something to say in case anyone asks, which they mostly never do, except sometimes her mother, who worries.

She doesn’t confess the books she takes to pass the time at the bus stop or the beach are chosen mainly for their covers, conversation starters should a stranger sit and cast their eyes her way. Or that sometimes she pretends she could be waiting for someone who loves her, so now and then she’ll glance up, arrange her features in a look of expectation, as if he might arrive at any moment, tumble through the breakwater rocks with a shamble of children, all shouting and laughing for her to come see, and his face will light up as he sees her, he'll say something like darling we’re all starving, let’s go home, we’ll pick up something on the way.

She doesn’t talk about the ache she feels when she walks back to her apartment alone in fading light, past houses stuffed with promises of belonging; with their tipped over tricycles lying on the lawn, smells of casserole kitchens and the soft yellow glow of lamps set low. Or how the tinned laughter from tv game shows rattles through the windows and carves chunks from her chest.

She can’t describe how the tsunami of silence knocks her off her feet when she opens her front door and steps into too much space. Or how she spends her evenings lying on her couch staring down at the corpse of who she used to be, as pale as a girl who never longed for anything.

She wouldn’t know where to begin.


Congratulations to our 2023 Best Small Fictions Nominees!

We are delighted to nominate the following 2023 FlashFlood stories to the Best Small Fictions Anthology: ' I Once Swallowed a Rollercoas...