In the mirrored morning, we’d share the rhythm of brushes on gums; a ritual of cleanliness accompanied by the clink of milk on cold steps and, perhaps, a siren’s distant ululation. She would find some sweet syncopation there, some cadence to which I was forever deaf, and pause to mark its beat with elegant fingernails tapped on cracked wet porcelain.
I would frown at her image; after all, who wants to be deaf? But she’d only rinse and spit and dimple: Why look so angry, she would ask; why look at me so darkly through the glass? (Slyly posed, to see if I’d dive for the semi-quote that she sounded before me, yet knowing that I would). On reflection, the question was more apt than we knew; for left soon became right in our mixed-up, steamed-up frame of misreference.
And now that the tap drips its counterpoint into silence, I’d give anything to fill again this half-empty glass with her kind smiles and music.
Marc Joan spent the early part of his life in Asia and Europe, and the early part of his career in biomedical research. He draws on this and other experience for his fiction, which currently is restricted to the more economical formats (short stories and novellas). Marc’s stories have been published in Hypnos, Madcap Review, Danse Macabre, The Apeiron Review, Bohemyth, STORGY and Smokelong Quarterly; and accepted for publication in Structo. He lives in England with his family.
–Art by Helen Norcott
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