Andrew Seaman CC
When the Blank Screen Drops and You Need to Move On
I caught the therapist as she bit the eraser between her teeth. Hard. So you could see the rubber warp and bend under the pressure. And for the tiniest fraction of a second, I held my breath, hoping. Not believing. But she did it. She bit the thing right off.
She had a nervous habit of tapping her lips with it. Her pencil. During each session, she’d sit, squared off against me on the other side of Zoom. Sometimes leaning back and relaxed. More often she was staid, upright, or even leaning in. But always she was perched with the same pencil in her hand. Tapping, tapping, tapping. Her only tell.
Once before, she’d strayed from the tapping and had almost bit it. She’d paused, looked away, and slid it into her mouth. Her teeth clamped down. At the very last second she’d caught herself and placed it down on her side table with a resolved thunk. She’d still averted her gaze, though.
That was the time I’d confided about buying my husband a pair of high heels. Gorgeous ones, too. Platform. Gold. Ankle straps so delicate I have to kneel in front of him, helping to put them on, the buckles’ elastic catching his leg hairs to thwart me. They’re higher than any I own, than I would ever dare. When he straps them on and rises to his feet like a newborn deer, knock-kneed and compelled by nature and instinct, he towers over me so I’m level with his silicone breast forms.
But she’d caught herself. And that same hope had surged through me, hot and rich, when she’d set the pencil down. Now, though, she’d become lost. She’d crossed that subtle line where reflex and impulse give in to the inevitability of it and truth wins. All because I’d told her I thought I could come to love him better this way.
Therapy, she’d said at our very first appointment, was a safe space of nonjudgement. The fresh tooth marks branded into the discarded chunk of pink eraser at our final appointment, however, had said otherwise.
K.A. Hunter lives with too many cats and a lone dog in New Hampshire, because, frankly, if it was good enough for Donald Hall, then it's good enough for her. As a writer, she's obsessed with the slipperiness that's flash fiction. To her, there is simply nothing more beautiful than brevity, especially in fiction.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.