So She Seams


When she noticed it took her 2 minutes longer than it usually did to set out all the silverware for dinner, she knew there was a problem. He hadn’t seemed to notice though, nor did he remark about the tightness around her mouth or her wincing when she bent or moved in a particular way. The table was laid out as beautifully as it ever was, every spoon, fork, and knife in their expected places.

He had smiled, running a finger down the curve of the spoon at his place setting, but did not say a word to her as she managed to make it to the kitchen without crying out.

She allowed herself to stand and breathe deeply for thirty seconds once the kitchen door closed behind her. Was there enough time? A glance at the clock told her there was, but she’d need to be quick. The roast would be ready soon.

She pulled several hairs from her head. Her well-practiced fingers wove them into a serviceable thread in under a minute. I’m getting faster, she thought, letting her mouth relax into it’s first smile that day. Now came the hard part.

She had chosen her frock carefully this morning, both for its pockets and ease of opening in the front. Her special needle case came out first. She opened it and caressed the line of off-white needles. She remembered when each of these slivers of bone were parted from her body. What a waste it would have been not to save them. Selecting the largest, she threaded it with her hair then placed it on the table, so she could undo her dress.

As she pushed the needle in and out of her skin, her mind registered that the hole had indeed gotten bigger. It didn’t matter. She had woven enough thread to do the job. Gritting her teeth as she pulled her needle taut to seal up her flesh, she made the finishing knots and cut the needle loose with the kitchen shears. She cleaned off the needle and put it back into its spot inside her case. Then she rearranged her clothing and tucked the case into her pocket.

One more glance at the clock. She had timed it perfectly. Wearing her second smile of the day, she pulled the roast out of the oven and arranged it on the serving platter. The high from getting everything done kept her back straight as she walked from the kitchen to the dining room. Everyone is at their place now, along with the spoons, forks, and knives. Everyone watched as she brought it in.
She was not sure if the wrinkle in the carpet had been there before she went to the kitchen or if it had been made while she was there. Either way, she stumbled when her feet encountered it, and her pretense at gracefulness fell too. She managed to get the platter on the table with a loud thump, but she didn’t know if the thump was from the platter hitting the table or the sound her innards made when they burst from their seams to land besides the roast.

He turned away, covering his mouth with a serviette. "Why did you do that? Darling, you've made me so uncomfortable," he said.

She smiled her third and last smile of the day, one more beautiful and terrible than the ones that came before.




Song Choice: Voices Carry covered by Sky Ferreira

This short fiction was created for Beautiful Freaks Fest 2 and is an expansion on a poem I wrote earlier, Uncomfortable.

26 comments:

  1. This is incredibly intense and portrays beautifully the stifled horror in the story. Her smile at the end is heartwrenching and says so much regarding physical and emotional abuse.

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    1. Thanks Sanaa. I worked to have the intensity of the poem that inspired it

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  2. Wow, the imagery your words produce is such a beautiful tragic tale. Oh and the feels of always having to hold it together!

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    1. Thanks Holly, I really wanted to get that aspect across and I'm glad I did.

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  3. Sanaa called it! This is intense! So full of hurt, resolve. Women hide their pain, no one sees, and if they do, the discomfort of the observer is the fault of the injured. Wonderfully written!

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    1. I'm glad that intensity came across. It was a little bit of a challenge for me.

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  4. What Sharon Rawson said -- spot on! We all have such scars, don't we.

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  5. In a story that is all blood and guts and spilling, the part that sickens me most is his caressing of the spoon. I hope there is a sequel (please!!!!!) in which she takes the utensil out of his unfeeling hands and, perhaps, stick it in his eye... very s l o w l y. Then, I want to ask him just how uncomfortable that makes him. The bastard.

    Um... yes, this one goes right for the gut.

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    1. That detail made my skin crawl too. Especially how it stood out against his indifference. I was both pleased and horrified I came up with it.

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  6. This was amazing and so visual, I drank in every word and they were delicious.

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    1. Thanks! Sometimes my visuals aren't as strong as I'd like them to be, but I did OK with this piece.

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  7. Oh my. I want to slap him across the room. I want to twist the serviette around his neck and pull it tight...so very tight. Your writing is so real, so much truth.

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    1. I have created some vile characters in my time, but this is one of the vilest. It makes sense since my inspiration came from several prominent figures in American government.

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  8. I just went back and read 'Uncomfortable' before reading this. The context of everyday domestic activities like preparing dinner and mending a tear make the truth of what is happening even more sinister and horrific. I said it before, but this would make an amazing and powerful short film! Brilliant!

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  9. This is why I will order pizza tonight :) love Love LOVE!

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    1. Literal LOL Shelle! Glad you liked it. :D

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  10. Oh, damn. This is so potent, in its violence and portrayal of skewed power relations and gender injustice. You have built it so masterfully — I winced multiple times at the imagery, at the struggle and the facades of normalcy and tradition, and then winced at my own discomfort because it denotes a certain privilege and protection.

    Intense, sensitive and very important!

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    1. Thank you. I really strove to get that imagery sharp and squirm inducing to get across the feeling I wanted. I'm glad I succeeded.

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  11. She stitched herself together... a wound that worsens rather than heals, but she stitches it closed, hiding it, so that she is presentable to him, or to the world. Oh, how this speaks to me!

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    1. I'm glad my writing was able to touch you. Thanks Reba!

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  12. Visceral. It reminds me of surrealist films like Eraserhead and Andelusean Dog (I prolly spelled that wrong) the detail that get me was that her needles were slivers of her own splintered bone.

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    1. That was one of the first details I came up with when writing the original poem. The rawness of it works.

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  13. Wow Rommy! This is powerful, intense, sad, heart breaking, maddening! So many emotions going through me! So well written! I want to hug her and hit him!
    Big Hugs!

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  14. Brava!

    It haunts. It echoes. It leaves a wound in place that was covered with pretending everything is "alright."

    Thanks!

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