KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Micro-Fiction: 366 words

The Waiting Room

by Kika Dorsey

Busloads of people are sitting on picnic benches in the white-tiled room with fluorescent lights. My lover is the driver of the other bus, and a woman with dark rings under her eyes feeds her child crackers.

I’m doodling on a map. With a black marker I connect the dots of all the cities, starting with Seattle, to Portland, all the way to the east coast, to Maryland and Boston. Then I trace the winding rivers, the Columbia and Colorado. Soon my map takes shape, a kind of fractal form like the geography of my womb, which God traced with blood and flesh between all its cells to make me birth two babies. Then He built a cage for the girl and a golden ladder for the boy, and I milked the goat and bought the marbles, blue with swirls of white like Earth. I thought I was giving them the world.

I show the map to the girl, who is dunking her crackers in milk. I ask her if she wants to color it. I tell her that when my children were young, they colored oceans red. “Moses parted it,” I say, “so that people could escape, so that slavery drowned.” I hand her the red crayon and she tries to scribble on her arm, but the wax of the crayon and oil of her skin keep the color from showing.

We’re waiting for the verdict. A woman was assaulted, that much we know. A man mapped her body and declared it his territory, that much we know. People are making excuses and sleeping well at night, the latter we surmise.

The mother’s eyes close. She is exhausted. The girl takes my black marker and starts scribbling on the table. It becomes a picture of a woman’s face, the eyes round as full moons. I wish I had a blue marble to give her, but my children have grown, and all I have in my purse is a few dollars and a license and keys. I want to take them and drive away across the ocean, but I don’t know how to part seas, and it’s this country I want to leave.


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