flash fiction

Six Blocks — Emm Borgerding

Dear Spencer,

I had my fortune told the night before the wedding. A woman with a red, porcelain mask over her face ran her fingers over my palms and had me spit into a bowl of cracked eggs and coffee grounds. She pinched shards of egg-shell between her yellow fingernails and crunched on them happily while we talked.

“Oh, Sean’s definitely cheating,” she told me, flipping through a pack of playing cards with her free hand as her other clawed through the egg-coffee muck. “That girl he works with, Rachel? She’s fucking him right now, I guarantee it. Go home, you’ll see.”

I passed my fifty dollar bill across the table, and she offered me a cigarette before I left. I took it, but only could take a few drags before I excused myself into the bathroom to throw up. There was blood, and some of it splashed onto the tile. I threw the cigarette into the bowl and flushed it down the toilet.  When I finished, I pinched the bags under my eyes and raked my fingers through my greasy hair.

I had a tube of lipstick in my pocket, and wrote his name across the mirror. It was an ugly shade of plum, and it began to melt, drops of purple wax leaking down the glassy surface. I dragged my finger through the letters, and my reflection shifted and shook until I was seeing him, sitting on our bed, reading glasses perched on the end of his nose, reading a book on acting methods of musical theatre. I hated him for it. I hated him for the heavy lump in my stomach that didn’t go away, the feeling that something horrible was going to happen, only to have his perpetual innocence prove me wrong.

I left the fortune-teller’s house, and I walked the few blocks quickly enough, but passed our front stoop and kept walking. It was a cold night, and soon I realized I forgot my jacket, but walked two more blocks before I remembered the jacket didn’t belong to me; it was Sean’s.

I got a taxi for the trip back to the fortune-teller’s, even though I could have walked. It was only ten dollars, and the driver glared at me when I told him where I wanted to go. Her door was open, I could hear her laughing somewhere in the back of the house, but I grabbed the jacket off the arm of the couch and left without saying hello or goodbye.

I went home, and Sean was already sleeping, but I didn’t wake him. We got married the next day.

Just wanted to let you know I’m still alive. Please write back.

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