The objects of my affection: A Triptych by Sharon Telfer

My husband, the wall

The breakfast sun melts over him like butter. I run my hands across his dips and hollows. No one else comes close like this – feels him soften in the slanting dawn, sees his stern facade pink and gild.

All day my fingers dust my desk and keyboard with whitewash traces. My tongue flushes brick red with every call I take.

When I get home, the sun is setting. My ominous husband has hardened into shadow and blocks the falling light. I draw the blind and scrub my hands. I am sure, come morning, I will remember why I love him.

My wife, the clock

Her metal fingers push me on. Her routine strike defines my day. Her constant tap pursues me through each room. Tonck, tonck, tonck.

My steady wife requires I wind her once a week. I warm the key in my chafed hand. I wax her long case down. My dull reflection glances from its gleam.

Each spring I steal an hour from her; she claims it back when autumn comes.

Some nights I watch her movement click and whirr. Her brass teeth bite and cog my heart. In those small hours, I lie awake and strain to catch the hidden silence slipped between each beat.

My lover, the camera

They’re the old-fashioned sort: turning me on with a thumb flick, rolling my secrets through their sealed belly, shielding me from the spoiling light.

Still, their focus takes me unawares. They lunge their sliding serpent lens, snap that shutter snick, zoom and shoot before I can prepare my smile.

While my perfidious lover sleeps, I reel away from their embrace. In the dark room’s red ammoniac glow, I strip and bathe. Frame by frame my negative self appears, hand raised, hair swinging, eyes averted from their harsh illuminating glare.

Sharon Telfer lives near York, UK. Her work has won prizes, including the Bath Flash Fiction Award and the Reflex Fiction Prize, and been selected for Best Microfiction 2019. In 2018, she was awarded the New Writing North/Word Factory Short Story Apprenticeship for emerging writers. She is an editor at FlashBack Fiction magazine. She tweets as @sharontelfer.

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