As I placed my head on the pillow to sleep, I suddenly thought about Artie. My heart choked up as if something was squeezing it, hard.
The pain pushed the blood, salt, and tears out of my soul.
I rose out of bed, realizing that sleep was impossible, and walked quietly, almost hypnotically, over to the master bath. What I needed was a good long soak in the tub . . .
. . . in the dark, except for the candle I lit in the corner.
As I added some lavender bubble bath to the water, I remembered that citric acid was listed on the back of the jar. I laughed bitterly as I sank into the warm foamy Jacuzzi. Did I want to be preserved, like a pickle? Citric acid is added not only as a preservative, but also to add a sour taste to food. I was already sour enough, thank you very much.
Suddenly, a dark shape entered the room and stood in front of my prone form. The candlelight shaped the shadow of the man.
Artie, who left me weeks ago.
Artie, who had gone silent when he found out what I had done.
Artie now stripped off his clothes and joined me in the womb-like water.
He broke his month-long silence by asking, “Why are you mumbling about citric acid?”
Acid seemed to be juicing up my saliva. “It’s one of the ingredients in my bubble bath.”
“Darling, citric acid is biochemical. It occurs in the metabolism of all living things.”
I tried to not breathe, think, or respond. What did he mean?
“Sweetie,” he continued, “what you did was wrong. But metabolically, we are weaved together like yarn into a scarf. You are mine. I am yours. For better or for worse.”
Artie drew me to him, the two of us intertwined in the effervescent closeness.
“I’m sorry for the ‘worse.’” I whispered.
“So am I. So am I,” he whispered back before kissing me as if he’d never, ever stop.
Flash fiction – inspired from my creative writing prompt to pick up a can in the kitchen pantry and write a story based on its ingredients. Can you guess what can I picked? The winner gets a paperback copy of my novel The Right Wrong Man. Write your guess in the comments section. (If more than one person guesses the correct answer, names will be placed in a . . . can . . . and the name pulled out, wins.)