| Snata Borah | April 2024 | Flash Fiction |

I ran so far and for so long, only to run into myself again. The weight of your gaze was too much for my joyless eyes to hold. I looked away to take a sip of the chilled IPA from a suspiciously small glass. I thought you said IPA was a beer? Why then, was it burning my lips? The load of my heart was too much for my knees to bear. Maybe you understood that, maybe you didn’t; but you held me tight, and that helped. A guttural moan escaped my throat. Or was that you? Too much too soon : I closed my eyes. 

“Ma’am, you have a pre-booked meal. What beverage would you like?”

“What do you have?” I started, discovering that I was looking out of the plane window with my eyes closed again. 

“We have orange juice, pomegranate juice, coconut water…”

“Coconut water, give me coconut water”, I smiled, imagining your lips too, break into a smile, at this private joke. The steward left, allowing me the space to slip back into my thoughts. 

You showed me Blake’s sick rose, inked on your right arm. I shuddered. I’ve left, in my wake, tattoos on other arms. Eerily, a rose one too. 

You did not let me pay the bills, I said I did not want to owe you. You said you wanted me to. What do I owe you? What _can_ I owe you? 

A tattoo of a Brahminy kite? Or some other image you liked?

But you cannot ink scarred skin.

What then, can I owe you? 

The heart?

It’s broken, bruised and stomped over. 

So, can I owe you, me? 

There’s no me – just a shadow of what I used to be.

I ran so far and for so long, only to run into myself again


Snata likes the sensation of plucking green capsicum and smelling warm sun dried laundry. She lives in Pune.


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