Half of a grapefruit against a yellow background

Jules Archer

I go grocery shopping for Mom. Her face bandaged, she remains in the car and hands over the list. She has done it to herself and yet, being seen in public is not an option. She tells me to only buy grapefruits if they’re less than a dollar a pound. I buy them anyway. I take the scold.

For dinner, my uncle makes spaghetti. The noodles are slimy. The sauce gritty and laced with unholy amounts of oregano. The herb coats my tongue like grass, sticks to the roof of my mouth, and I gag. I think of the grapefruits and yearn for a sweet suck of pulp. Across from me sits my mother. I cannot look up from my plate. Face her face. The small wounds around her eyes tight and red. Our noses are no longer the same. I wonder if it’s the one thing she can do to get away from me. I twirl a forkful of spaghetti and my stomach double-flips. I imagine I am eating her stitches. Choking each one down with my glass of warm milk.

Headshot of Jules ArcherJules Archer lives and burns in Arizona. She is the author of the flash fiction chapbook All The Ghosts We’ve Always Had (Thirty West Publishing House, 2018). Her work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, kill author, Pank, The Butter, Maudlin House, and elsewhere. She likes to smell old books, drink red wine, and read true crime tales. Follow her on Twitter @julesjustwrite.

Image credit:  Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

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