290 Words
A Short Story by K. L. Tabor
Written using the suggestion "Slavery"
Originally featured on 06-24-2009
As part of our series "The Summer of Our Hopes and Fears"

We’d be having a drink, having a bite, lying in bed having nothing but the rain on the window, your face in the pillow, your face against mine, your face to the wall, your back to the door, smelling familiar, only now a bit faded—and you’d say, offhand, in the casual way that you do. Urgently, “I am not what I thought I would be.”


And it would all tuck away. Back of my head, back of my brain. Two weeks away, three weeks away, I’d sit down to write with nothing to write, except tumbling around in the back of my skull, “I am not what I thought I would be.”


And the girl in type, the one on the page, the one who doesn’t exist, would be climbing a grey precipice, or sailing a deep sea, or leaving a lover alone at the door, lean in, and whisper in his ear, “I am not what I thought I would be.”


A cat, and a drink, and an empty bed at night. Two hundred and ninety words for two hundred and ninety nights alone. And nothing is there, just an empty house with a bowl of oranges left untouched. You were the one who liked them, I never did. So I sit down to write and feel very small. My computer and keyboard are larger and taller and I shrink in my chair—what can I write if the emotion is gone? What can I write if I miss you forever? Like life in stop-motion? I turn inward, curl inward; a different middle for a different ending. I thought I was a writer, but now I’m not so sure. I am not what I thought I would be.

Read More By K. L. Tabor

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Portland Fiction Project

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