Relationships: horrifying and beautiful all at once. Nicole Provencher, whose excellent story Pop you can read here, explores the final event of such a relationship. The memories that are so specific to the people we have grown to love are ultimately painful reminders of what we all lose.
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Bearing by Nicole Provencher
I woke up to the sound of something trying to be silent in the next room over. I could hear it as I lay in bed and listened for the tell-tale noises of things sliding against each other slowly, deliberately. And I thought of you and the time we camped in Big Bend. I wonder if you remember that trip and how useless we were in the wild. We did everything wrong like when that bear brushed up against the tent and we could feel his breath through the thin nylon. He kept pushing his nose in farther and farther towards us to smell what was left of the fish we fried for dinner. You decided to scare him off with a flashlight but instead you frightened him and he jerked his head back and up so quickly that it was caught in the top of the tent. I didn’t know what to do and you couldn’t get the zipper open fast enough as the tent collapsed around us. My god, that bear moaned so loudly that I thought the earth was shaking. And you are in the next room now so quietly pulling pictures off the walls, moving boxes across the floor as you pack the last of your things. What can I do but pretend I don’t hear you. I make a tent from the blanket over my head to block out the sounds of your pushing me, to block out everything you kept from me. But the blanket is too thin and I can still hear the moaning of the bear, long and swollen as he struggles. He cries like the world is ending. His cries the sounds now coming from my own throat.
Lyle Rosdahl, a writer living in San Antonio, edits the flash fiction blog & best of in print for the Current. He created, facilitates and participates in Postcard Fiction Collaborative, a monthly flash fiction response to a photo. You can see more of his work, including photos, paintings and writing, at lylerosdahl.com.
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