My Friends and I Started Having Premonitions About Future Lovers
Sonia dreamt of being sawed in half by a mustached magician, rugged steel grinding rosewood beneath hot stage lights. Margie found herself visiting an attractive dentist after all her teeth had popped out, each molar and incisor returned to its socket like an ivory puzzle piece. I floated in a field of cherry blossoms, serenaded by a balding Peter Frampton and his harmonica.
They hired professional dream interpreters to avoid falling for the wrong men, but I took my chances.
He comes alive while complaining about his receding hairline over breakfast. I grin behind the rim of my coffee mug.
Wanted: Professional Cuddler
My husband blames my job as a professional cuddler for his post-lovemaking anxiety. He thinks I’m silently judging his spooning and hair-stroking prowess, but that’s not it.
He senses the widow’s head, heavy against my chest. The tears of a former heart surgeon, his mind fragile—fleeting, smudged on my fingertips. These moments seep into my pores and cells and slither off my flesh in the middle of the night, suffocating my husband. I will soon resign, but he will always taste, smell, feel this grief, now part of me, hanging off my body like someone else’s wrinkled, oversized clothes.
Memorial Day Pie
Once again, as June approaches, we anticipate dad’s beloved apple pie, fragrance billowing, mingling with sweat-soaked t-shirts and chlorine-infused hair. We anticipate bolts of cinnamon-sugar tempered by cool vanilla, plush on eager tongues. He approaches the table with trembling hands, golden crust wobbling like a tightrope walker trying not to slip and splat upon slate tiles below.
My father’s ever-steady hands now shaking, not like mine and my mother’s—not from nerves.
Smiles plaster our faces as we readily lift our forks, diving into a whirl of buttery flour and soft fruit, but—no, not quite. Unusual textures and flavors replace grins with grimaces as dad washes up in the kitchen. There are no tender apples here, no carefully measured spices.
The four of us lock gazes, laser-sharp, at the precipice of some monumental shift, feeling floors tilting and walls wavering upon an unexpected taste of bad apple pie.
Mom, stealthy as a ninja, grabs our plates and tosses barely-nibbled slices off the back deck, later bringing empty dishes to the sink. She squeezes his hand. He kisses her forehead.
Our father, revered and ancient, weathered pillar, reminds her of the frozen chocolate pie in the freezer.
Ashley McCurry (she/her) is a speech-language pathologist and short fiction writer, currently residing in the Southeastern United States with her husband and three rescue dogs. Her work has appeared or is slated for publication in Bright Flash Literary Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, Six Sentences, Microfiction Monday Magazine, FlashFlood Journal, The Dillydoun Review, Flash Boulevard, Shirley Magazine, Pigeon Review, and others.