Flash Fiction Edition Four 2020: Cycle31 August 2020
Road Music by Vanessa Lee
I catch her in the corner of my eye, cycling by my side with rain-damp curls and arms outstretched like wings. We were eleven, almost twelve, and shouting the words to some old song.
There is a road named after a flower at the end of our street. Our mothers warned us to never follow it alone. People get hurt there. The road, the flowers only watch on.
Still, with eyes drawn to the horizon, our legs cycled faster as we imagined places beyond our street and the clouds, heavy with coming rain.
I swore I saw the city lights.
Content warning: menstruation
I get all teary and fragile, like those crazy spun sugar nets that hover atop of cakes.
And there we go, I’m thinking about food.
My stomach’s insides form hands and scramble,
desperately, for the kitchen.
We know what this means.
Then comes the hint of heaviness in my abdomen.
The heaviness begins to churn, and with sharp pangs
it announces its arrival.
Any moment now.
Sure enough… plop! After its long journey from my ovaries,
through my fallopian tubes, to my uterus and down my vagina,
my unfertilized egg drips onto the cotton of my underpants.
The cycle begins.
The polar bear and her cub emerge from the den, marking the beginning of spring. An urgency to find food drives the mother to begin the trek towards the sea ice, cub in tow. Once there, she begins hunting. Throughout summer the mother teaches her cub the skills to survive. Before long it’s winter then spring. They go back out to the sea ice and hunt together but something’s different. Next spring the cub is alone to fend for itself. It wanders towards the sea ice, eager to eat. Underneath it the thin layer of ice cracks. Everywhere the ice was disappearing and with it, the chance of another cycle.