Fiction · 06/13/2018

Let’s Talk About What’s Between Us

After my cousin died, dropped dead at forty folding clothes, I got checked for what she had. They did an ultrasound on my heart, and I lay there listening to the beating as if inside my own uterus. Other than the sound of me, it was quiet, so I said, “Hey,” to the man on the other side of the machine. “You like this job?” And he sort of nodded, and I didn’t know if we were supposed to be quiet, and I was embarrassed for talking, and I heard the beating get faster, and I wanted accurate results, so I said, “Is it okay that I talk during this?” He said, “Sure.” So I said, “This is my first one of these,” and he nodded again, as if it were a question, and I said, “I don’t have kids” because I thought he might be curious. And then I said, “Do you do a lot of these tests?” and I looked down at my body, thinly robed on top, gray squares stuck across my cleavage, and he sort of shrugged, so I said, “My cousin died from this,” and he was quiet, and I laughed and said, “Not from this machine, but from whatever they’re testing me for.” Then, I didn’t want him to feel neglected, so I said, “I mean, whatever you’re testing me for.”

A week later another man called to tell me the test was negative, meaning good news, and isn’t there a better way to say these things?

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Sophie Rosenblum’s work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Fast Company, and American Short Fiction. Two of her flash pieces will be published in New Micro (Norton, forthcoming).