No Business Being Spectacular by Tara Isabel Zambrano

There’s a darkness growing in her stomach. The windows remind her of her imperfect dimensions, she has no business being spectacular like the ocean ahead of her.

She thinks of the baby she left in the bathroom of a gas station. Two hundred miles away, amidst Styrofoam snow. Cigarettes turn her into an animal. She breathes out slowly―the circles of smoke starting off soft white, like little elbows and toes, eaten by the air.

On the other side of the window, there’s a sunscreen bottle and a pair of goggles. A lounging chair. A thought of stealing emerges and vanishes. Recently her body is a dirt road, her mind a begging bowl. It takes her all day to drive around, to come up with an idea. When he fucked her, he didn’t ask if she wanted it. Later he claimed she enjoyed it.

The cries of the baby still cut her. Guilt is the best workout.

She tells herself she was tired of the colic. Above, the sky is slashed with a jet stream, like her wrist. The interstate, not far from her, has a black breath. She lies face up in her truck, listening to the waves rise and crash―her body misted with sweat amidst empty fast-food cups and crushed soda cans, her legs kicking and pushing. Forgetting, remembering.

Tara Isabel Zambrano works as a semiconductor chip designer in a startup. Her work has been published in Tin House Online, The Cincinnati Review, Slice, Bat City Review, Yemassee, The Minnesota Review and others. She reads prose for The Common. Tara moved from India to the United States two decades ago and holds an instrument rating for single engine aircraft. She lives in Texas.

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