Some Measure of Comfort by Belinda J. Kein

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close up of leather sofa with shadow

I should have known, should have seen it coming those last days when we barely moved from that garish yellow sofa, a plush velour confection with swooping lines, you’d bought on impulse in a rush of misplaced optimism, too glam for my tastes, its sun-struck hue in such sharp contrast to your solemn demeanor, your once stately robust figure now stooped and frail, your ashen skin nearly translucent making you appear a mere wisp of yourself, as if the slightest breeze could catch you unawares, as did the rare ruinous disease that dithering doctors and ineffectual clinical trials allowed to ravage you until your suffering was beyond treatment or cure, the medical term for which you refused to reveal, then relented with my sworn promise not to Google it, for fear it would scare me and, I suspect, compromise your own denial, the only thing that allowed some measure of comfort as we sat hour upon hour in the jaundiced embrace of your sofa, watching Chopped, a food show of all things, wherein promising chefs struggled to create a palatable dish from disparate ingredients, peanut butter, horseradish, and quinoa, let’s say, the ensuing failures inevitable, the point obvious, to create obstacles and dash hope, every episode intolerable to me as it was riveting to you, even as you were barely able to digest much of anything, your appetite likewise waning, the occasional craving prompting me to rise from my increasingly concave seat to prepare a milkshake thick with ice cream and gobs of Hershey’s syrup, a banana if you thought you could keep it down, though frequently you could not, my gaze averted to afford you privacy and allow you some modicum of dignity as our days dwindled, my visit drew to a close, and I returned home to my husband, to my dog, to the relief and distraction of things prosaic that consumed my days, whittled them down imperceptibly, until weeks later, awash in workaday noise and clutter, I got the call, heard your daughter’s voice, barely a whisper, her words garbled and halting, her meaning nearly lost to heaving sobs, yet through it all, understood that you were gone, that your luminous yellow sofa lay abandoned, that your untimely departure from this life had been inevitable, that I should have known, should have seen it coming, and still, it took me by surprise.

Meet the Contributor

Belinda J. KeinBelinda J. Kein is an expat New Yorker who resides in San Diego, CA. A poet early on, she now brings her lyricism and love of the succinct to flash fiction, creative nonfiction and hybrid prose. Her work has appeared in The Razor, 2022 Dime Stories Anthology, Mom Egg Review, The New York Times, The Spirit of Pregnancy, and is scheduled to be published in the forthcoming Stanchion Away From Home Anthology. She holds an MA in English from San Diego State University and an MFA in Fiction from Queens University of Charlotte. She is currently working on a flash collection.

Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/romana klee

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