Three Ways of Saying the Same Thing: A Triptych by Leonora Desar
It happened to me a couple of years ago—
One day my boss was talking to me and I just disappeared. Like that. It was amazing. Then I came back. This wasn’t so amazing. I was pretty pissed. I said, come on guys, meaning my body. My body wasn’t used to being addressed in the plural; it kind of stuttered then it flickered then it vanished. It left my right arm—which was kidnapped by my boss. He put it to task for my abandonment. It does all kinds of things; filing, helping the boss masturbate, pick up phones. It still calls me from time to time.
Dark. Darker. Darkest.
The other day I was walking home from the diner and I realized I was dead. It just came to me. When I got home my husband tried pretending, this wasn’t so. He had to help me adjust to my new life, but couldn’t we wait just five more minutes? He brought the TV—we watched it. It was just like normal except instead of wanting to get up and pee I didn’t. I didn’t have to. I missed it very much. Pee, I said, where are you. I told my husband I was stretching my legs and took a walk, I walked to the bathroom—I squatted on the toilet and willed the pee.
I said, come on guys. I imagined them like soldiers, all the pee drops, if they could just line up and squeeze I would know—I still had some fight. I waited and I waited. It got dark. It felt the same as being light. My mind didn’t process it. I dug a hole—the neighbors watched me. I crawled in, and still I tried to pee.
It got dark. Darker. Darkest. I shut my eyes.
When I Could Fly
I met these men, I told them how I learned to fly. They knew too, they were brothers. One learned when he was very young. The other had to wait. He was in his 50s. It seemed so unfair. That he had to wait so long. I told them about me. I was in my 50s, too. No, my 40s, sorry I forgot.
I woke up one day and my head was against the ceiling. It was wonderful. I was free.
Someone told me to come back down. My husband, probably. He said get down here. I said no. We argued—Finally I came. We looked up at the ceiling. I thought, that was me. I was there. I remembered it. But it seemed so far away.
Leonora Desar’s work has appeared in River Styx, Passages North, Mid-American Review, Black Warrior Review Online, SmokeLong Quarterly, Quarter After Eight, and elsewhere. Her story “My Father’s Girlfriend” (matchbook) is forthcoming in The Best Small Fictions 2019. Three of her pieces were chosen for Best Microfiction 2019. She won third place in River Styx’s microfiction contest, and was a finalist/runner-up in Quarter After Eight’s Robert J. DeMott Short Prose contest, judged by Stuart Dybek. She lives in Brooklyn