The second he:
“It’s called the Intertropical Convergence Zone.”
“When the northern and southern winds come together around the equator, giving us March’s brief summer.”
Fancy summer lasting only two weeks.
The first he:
Before I met the first he, I sat on my porch watching summer rain collide with dry earth, permeating the air with a sweet perfume.
Before I met the first he, I stomped on autumn leaves and fallen chestnuts.
Before I met the first he, I ice-skated in August on a temporary rink.
Before I met the first he, both buds and yellow robins bloomed before me during the season of rebirth.
One day, I spun the globe, shut my eyes and I said: wherever my finger lands, that’s where I’ll go. That’s where I’ll escape to.
So here I am.
The second he.
Waves smash against a cluster of rocks. The Atlantic’s bubbly ocean foam clashes against a wobbly bridge. My hands shake on the unstable rope rails, legs toddle.
Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.
Jokes come in handy during uncertain times.
I reach the other side. The first he would have called me chicken, or scaredy cat, but the second he waits on a log teasing a pink toe tarantula he spotted when I stepped on the first wooden panel. They are sharing a long playtime.
My new friends fly, crawl and slither and won’t outnumber humans even after the third he arrives in nine months. The first he hasn’t changed. He now keeps his second wife indoors, cheap aftershave lingers, her knick-knacks replaced by ashtrays and empty whisky bottles. Her attempts at transforming that house into a home have been a total flop.
Ephemera frenetically invade my home announcing in their own language the beginning of the rainy season. Their wings scattered on deck tables, screen doors, and wicker chairs. My Dyson sucks the last wing and the monsoons wash away memories of the first he.
Isabelle B.L is a teacher based in France. She has published a novel inspired by the life of a New Caledonian feminist and politician. Her work can be found in the Birth Lifespan Vol. 1 and Growing Up Lifespan Vol. 2 anthologies for Pure Slush Books, Flash Fiction Magazine, A Story in 100 Words, Visual Verse, FlashBack Fiction, The Cabinet of Heed, Ample Remains, Found Polaroids, Five Minutes, Kitchen Sink Magazine, Splintered Disorder Press and The Antihumanist. Her work is forthcoming in Drunk Monkeys, someshortstories.com, and Appointment at 10.30 Vol. 22 anthology for Pure Slush Books.
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