By Michael Croban
I remember. Her. Eyes wide with a blank stare. She smiles but not with her eyes. I remember. Me. Standing in the middle of the road. Rain is pouring. She is dancing, her dress soaking wet. Cars honking. She doesn’t care, I don’t care. Freedom! The medicine she gave me, makes me sick. I see myself throwing up. I fall down. I can feel the wet asphalt on my face. She doesn’t care. She is still dancing. Spinning and spinning. Her. My head. Somewhere in the distance through the rain I can hear sirens wailing. I don’t know why, but the circular sound reminds me of the planets revolving around the sun. As I lay there on the wet asphalt I picture a black hole somewhere in the center of the galaxy devouring thousands of stars. I close my eyes and I drift away deeper into the past. I’m in my apartment. I wake up with the smell of coffee. It’s her making it. We sit in the kitchen smoking cigarettes. She is scratching the scars on her arm.
“Damn those mosquito bites.“ She smiles. I smile back. I don’t know why – it’s not funny.
My head starts spinning. I’m in the now. I wake up, the smell of coffee irritates my nostrils. It’s her, she’s making the coffee. I rub my eyes. It’s not her. It’s someone else. I love her. Not her. My thoughts are all over the place. I don’t know who is she, who am I? I get up and lit up a cigarette. The other woman, not her, says, ” Not inside.“ I say, “Fuck off.“ I smoke and slowly walk to the kitchen. She, not her, is staring at me. I’m back, it’s me – the old me. I kind of feel happy that it’s the old me, but at the same time I’m angry – I despise the old me. Pretending to be someone else or being the old me – It’s the same thing, I hate every version of me.
“Is it her, again?“ she asks. She. Not her.
I frown as I blow circles from the cigarette smoke like a kid into her face. She, not her, kisses me.
I feel the warmth of her body. I shake. I kiss her back. We make love, and after, I fall asleep. I dream. A black hole is devouring a star. I’m floating through the chasm of nothingness further away from the dying star. She is there, I can feel it. I’m frightened and happy. I’m awake, she, not her, is lying next to me. She smiles at me. I smile back – at her.
Michael Croban hails from Croatia, Europe. He is a former musician and a music editor. He equally appreciates Dostoevsky and Frank Herbert. His work has appeared online on 101 Words, The Drabble, Adhoc Fiction, and Friday Flash Fiction. Read his story “The Traveler” here on FewerThan500.