Today, the Grandfather told Little Girl to wait by the blue swings. Today, they will not be visiting Mrs. Brahms in the room behind her bar and she won’t be munching on chocolate with banana filling as long as the adults talk or disappear for ten minutes or so. Today, she won’t be fidgeting on her low stool, or staring at the piles of yellow files as tall as the ceiling or at the green door which leads to the bar.
But Little Girl is hungry. She has licked the side bar of the swing and it tastes salty and cold. From where she is swaying, she can see the entrance to Mrs. Brahms’. She somersaults, lands on the sand and rushes into the room. There is nobody inside, only the box of chocolates on the desk. Little Girl reaches for them, but then hears voices coming from beyond the green door. She tries it and it opens like a book. A giant wave, as tall as three grandfathers is coming for her, whispering, rustling, folding in itself so it can swallow her. Little Girl slams the door and waits to hear the wave break, but there is only silence. She takes a seat on a low stool, folds her hands in her lap and waits. Nobody comes. After an eternity, she hears voices again on the other side. She pushes the door open and there is no shadowy day bar, no clinking of glasses, no chirping of the slot machines, no men stinking of vodka at three in the afternoon. There is whiteness and transparence, the light of the camera blitzes reflected by beige floor tiles, computer monitors, glass cases and scrubbed employees. She walks towards the counter so she can pick up the photos from her eighteenth birthday.
We All Suck the Life Out of Our Parents
Still life in a parking lot: tweezers holding up a hair from mom’s right eyebrow, Little Boy with eyes like ping-pong balls, Little Girl running towards the garbage cans, the pocketknife peeking out of the Daddy’s hand. The Daddy had only wanted to open a can of tuna. The Daddy says,
“Little Girl, don’t be afraid. Come here and help me,” while stretching his hand, blood leaping to the sky in the rhythm of his heart.
Little Girl comes and begins to suck the blood, concentrated and conscientiously like a little baby. Little Girl is swelling, swelling, swelling like a tick while the Daddy is decreasing and deceasing. When she’s done, skin is loose on the Daddy’s bones like a chicken wattle and Little Girl rolls away merrily towards the sea, looking for another man to suck the life out of.
Little Girl is all grown up and has no one to feed off. Sad and alone, she warms her hands on a cold hearth.
“It can’t be colder on the shore,” she says and she goes to pray to the Goddess Sea. “Please, give me a husband to pay for firewood, food, Chanel nail polish and, if it’s not too much, a mink coat.”
The waves hum, dance, swing and twirl, teasing her. Big Girl turns to leave the mocking waves, when they finally drop a book on the sandy bank. Big Girl wipes the dust off it.
“How to Build a Website”, says the title.
Big Girl throws herself back into the sea.
Sophie van Llewyn is an Assistant Editor with the literary magazine Bartleby Snopes. Her prose has been published by or is forthcoming in Flash Frontier, The Molotov Cocktail, Halo, Unbroken Journal, Hermeneutic Chaos Journal, among others. Her book reviews have been published by Necessary Fiction.