My entry in the Flash Friday! Flashversary contest second round. The photo below was your prompt and the word count needed to be between 150-500. This round was only for the 25 semifinalists, who had a chance to move on to the final 10. Alas, I did not make the finals. But I truly had an amazing experience with this contest and the feedback I received is something I’ll cherish. A couple of my Twitter pals are still in the hunt, and I’m certainly rooting for them. Hope you enjoy!
photo by Francois de Halleux
The cigarette smoke was like a cancerous pacifier. A vapor of irresponsible toxins that eased me into a tranquil sleep, a kind of nicotine-infused lullaby. I took naps often.
The alcohol was a different scourge. The first drop brought disorientation. The ensuing ones induced an embryonic rage. I lashed out with my feet, an attempt to kick a hole in the walls of my distilled prison sac. But the drinks kept coming, accompanied by the background noise of a wailing melancholic guitar. Or a menacing baritone. Both of us were wobbly on many occasions. And we both needed to follow the 12 steps.
When I first tasted the juice of a fruit, my tongue lolled around in ecstasy. It was exotic, uncontaminated, and holy, and I craved more. But I was usually served the sludge of her normal diet. A river of marbled goop that adhered itself to her lining and hung there like an abstract painting.
I had an opportunity to free myself when she was properly dilated. I saw a radiant light and a man in a white coat. He tugged on my head. I resisted. He yanked harder, his face as red as an apple. I dug my fingers in and refused to exit. I was half-drunk, anyway. I was ready for a siesta.
Next, they carved her open. This new tactic involved a brazen frontal assault. I demurred and burrowed deep into the womb like a startled prairie dog. We danced for a spell, me and the extractor, until mom told him to just leave me in there.
Mom was bed-ridden most of the time but our relationship truly blossomed. She taught me a blue-collar version of Morse code and we communicated with a series of complex taps. She even tapped that she loved me once. Or maybe that she loathed me, but I prefer to believe the former.
She brought me meals via a feeding tube. Birthday’s were my favorite. She would send me a liquified vanilla cake with strawberry icing. I absorbed it like a peckish wedge of chamois. And I always requested my beloved oranges.
The bespectacled specialist said I was an abomination and a blight on motherhood. He didn’t understand. I was happy inside mom. I knew the life that had tormented her: the low wages, conniving men, the booze and the heartaches. I sought to avoid all of that.
She made grievous mistakes in the past but I don’t condemn her. They were birthed from that pitiless assassin called poverty. She was my mom. I’ll never be as close to her as I was for those thirteen years. I was her baby boy.
When she passed away due to the strain of my weight, I finally had to choose that illuminated portal. I flourished, became a man and eventually discovered love. My wife, Chantal, is currently pregnant with my three-year old son, but he’s not ready to meet daddy just yet. My boy is a womb dweller.