Vignettes Baby

The Secret Digits of Pi

When the speckled meteors came, you said they were God’s marbles, and that He had lost them. So we fled the city, running with the mob of hungry, barefooted students who had spray-painted the White House black.  We went back to The Hague, my birthplace, sailing the canals, which had been poisoned with mercury. One night, as the crumbling walls of our house violently shook, I told you that the lights in Paris had gone out forever. You covered my lips with trembling fingers, and told me that you didn’t want to hear it. And as I held you close, I read the secret digits of pi in your spinning eyes and knew that the world we had lost would haunt us with undying glory.

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Short Stories & Flash Fiction · Vignettes Baby

The Winter Queen

The snow continued to fall, incessantly, cloaking the city in ice. “This is the coldest day you’ll ever have,” my mother said softly. Her cool, ungloved fingers were tightly wrapped around my wrist as we walked with cautious steps, trying not to slip, behind my father. His flaming red coat first reminded me of the old lighthouse that guarded our quiet shores, and then of the tale of Snow White, whose mother had spilled her own blood on the snow outside her window when she, startled by the chirp of a bird, had pricked herself while doing her needlework. “This is the coldest day you’ll ever have,” my mother repeated. Quite surprised, I looked up to study my mother’s face which looked frozen and stern under her woolen bonnet. Specks of snow were clutching to the dark curls that had escaped her hat, making her look, I thought, quite enchanting. A winter queen. “There have been colder days, Mom, ” I sighed. Last winter, we nearly starved for it had been so cold that the harvest in our province had failed. My baby brother had also fallen victim to that same cruel winter, dying of pneumonia when he was four months old. For a second I wondered, bewildered, how my mother could be so forgetful, but then she said: “That was the coldest day I ever had,” and I looked up again, and saw tears clinging to her snowy lashes. She had not forgotten. And suddenly it seemed to me that the snow in her hair no longer made her look queenly, but old and cold like the city.

Vignettes Baby

Maps of Love

‘My girlfriend and I are going to marry,’ he says, and I shipwreck on the love in his quivering voice. ‘Oh,’ I whisper, swallowing hard. ‘Great! When?’ ‘Soon.’ He smiles; delicate creases appear underneath his beautiful eyes, mapping out the path to my catastrophe. ‘I’m happy for you,’ I tell him. ‘I really am.’ Dying on the rocky shores, I lean forward to kiss his freshly shaven cheeks.