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by Sebnem E. Sanders

I smell the freshness of your shirt when I bury my face in your chest. A hint of lavender takes me to an old Italian movie, a scene where people hang their laundry on the terrace. We play hide-and-seek between the big white sheets and rub sweaty hands on the cotton fabric.

Who irons your shirts like this? You never mentioned any one. I never asked. Omission is a sin. Lavender and heather won’t make up for it. Today, I ask the question that’s been roaming in my head for a while.

Your gaze drifts away and you mutter, “The one I took vows with.”

I step back. Clench my hands and shout, “Get the hell out of here and don’t come back.”

You look at me with pleading eyes, and linger, unsure.

“Out, now!” I command.

You hesitate, then turn around. Shoulders slumped, you drift to the door and exit my life.

I continue my daily routines. Appear as though nothing has gone amiss to the people I come into contact with. Only the walls of the flat and my pillow know what I go through each night. Three months pass, and the pain’s still fresh.

***

On my birthday, the doorbell rings. “Who is it?” I speak into the intercom.

“Flower delivery for Ms Jones.”

I recognize your voice. My heart pounds in my ears, my hands shake. My finger wavers over the buttons. I press the green one and open the front door.

Hearing your footsteps on the stairs, I touch my hair and smooth my dress. You reach the landing and stop just before the doormat. Holding out a beautiful bouquet, you say, “Happy birthday.”

Our eyes lock. I take the flowers and say, “Thank you. They’re lovely.”

For a split second, I’m not sure what to do. Then I say, “Come,” and let you into my life, again. Why? Because that’s the way I am.


Sebnem E. Sanders is a native of Istanbul, Turkey. Currently she lives on the eastern shores of the southern Aegean where she dreams and writes flash fiction and flash poesy, as well as longer works of fiction. Her flash stories have been published at the Harper Collins Authonomy Blog, The Drabble, Sick Lit Magazine, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, Spelk Fiction, The Bosphorus Review of Books, Three Drops from the Cauldron, and The Rye Whiskey Review. She has a completed manuscript, The Child of Heaven, and two works in progress, The Child of Passion and The Lost Child. Her collection of short and flash fiction stories, Ripples on the Pond, was published in December 2017. Her stories have also been published in two anthologies: Paws and Claws and One Million Project, Thriller Anthology. More information can be found at her website where she publishes some of her work: https://sebnemsanders.wordpress.com

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