The bed.

I haven’t slept in the bed since her mother died in it. She knew I knew, but when other people came to visit, she made it up with fresh sheets and I reminisced how gentle and at the same time firm the mattress was and also how at the moment her mother died, tears poured from both eyes. The bed promoted a deep, restful release.

For years, we slept on it at the beach and swept phantom grains of sand from the sheets with our toes, which later throbbed from smacking the baseboard in pitch black. The headboard was soft grey with rounded carvings like the bad luck tiki Bobby found at a construction site in Hawaii. It had sliding doors and secret compartments perfect for imprisoning action figures and Danielle Steele paperbacks. It weighed more than a tiki and only slightly less than an elephant. One night the bed was carefully disassembled, driven 90 blocks, lugged up a flight of stairs and left in a sharp stucco hallway in a silent argument over who should have it. This is how my family fights.

George did all the heavy lifting, grunting with greasy sweat across his barrel chest and pregnant-swollen belly and still in those terrible tan trousers and brown belt, his attempt to dress up even though it was too hot for a shirt. When we got off the elevator after it was all over, he hung back and dropped into a lunge, stretched out both arms and declared I AM STRONG AS AN OX. The elevator doors started to close and bounced back in the way they always do in that perpetually surprised oh are you still here? My brother and I turned our heads to snicker.

One day I will have to disassemble the bed and ask someone (shirtless or not) to help me lug it to the curb for Purple Hearts. I’ll probably sleep on it one last time and wonder if I’ll dream or find relief from these ghosts.

13 thoughts on “The bed.

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  1. A ha! I see what you’ve been up to.
    This is so good. You hooked me at the beginning and left me wanting more – like an old boyfriend of mine πŸ™‚
    The images and story line were so vivid. I could totally see the “pregnant swollen belly” and him popping out in a lunge.
    Please tell me that we will see more? And that you’ll give us more of this story?
    Loved it! So nice to see your here again πŸ™‚


  2. Wow, I loved this a lot K. Flash fiction is so hard to do, but you knocked it out of the park. Lots of delicious details, and yet still leaving more to the imagination and even more questions lingering.

    Phantom grains of sand. And pooh, that opening sentence.


    Liked by 1 person

      1. and see, I went the poop direction. I blame all the cows. πŸ™‚
        Well played, iPhone, well played. πŸ™‚


  3. I was thinking a few days ago that I hadn’t seen a post from you in a while. If this is what I get when you do post it is well worth the wait. I love this little beauty on so many levels. The words, the imagery, and also, a sense of deja vu. When I was a teenager I once had to sleep in my dead grandfather’s bed. He didn’t actually die in the bed, but a few feet away from it (heart attack). Still, I didn’t sleep a wink. Too busy waiting for his ghost to appear.

    To paraphrase Oliver Twist, “Please, Miss, can I have some more?”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi K – I really like flash fiction because I am not a fiction reader, but the short posts give me a sampling of what others really enjoy when they read it regularly. I only follow a few other bloggers that do the fiction – a couple of them do the 99 word and whew, is that interesting. anyhow, enjoyed your piece here – and favorite line “This is how my family fights.” ha


  5. Great stuff, Kristen, as usual. Flash fiction certainly pushes us in terms of word restraint and economy of structure…and you do a great job here.

    Thanks for sharing this – wonderful imagery πŸ™‚


    Liked by 1 person

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