They Can’t See It by Michael Webb

I said it to myself, hoping that the words would become real if I said them, instead of thinking them hard inside my brain’s tangled nest.

“They can’t see it.”

I pulled my top down hard, willing it to extend, to stretch, to somehow lengthen, as if there was some fold or wrinkle I had missed that was going to make it 2 inches longer. When I stood perfectly still, it extended exactly to my waist, exactly the way I wanted. The fabric ended right at the perfect point, denoting the border between one half and the other half.

But if I bent, or stretched, or turned one way or the other, it gapped, and suddenly an oval of my pale, wrinkly, flabby belly was visible to the world.

“They can’t see it,” I told myself again.

I could, of course, just explain what it was- what I needed, and what had happened and what was going to happen. I even knew the answers to some of those queries. I could answer some of them with absolute certainty. I just didn’t know the answers to all of them.

I heard my name, distantly echoing through the house, the sounds indistinct. I could still follow the shadows of the words, knowing the intonations that meant the yeller was seeking me.

“Coming!,” I bellowed back.

I tugged the top down one last time and left, the door shutting with a solid thump behind me.


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Filed under Michael Webb

5 responses to “They Can’t See It by Michael Webb

  1. Oh change it, baby, change it! Those fashion disasters are remembered forever!
    Ha, this story tugged at my deepest level – which sadly, is actually incredibly shallow. The pointless restructuring of something that in the cold light of day, is not working and never will; the hope that people will see me as I wish to be seen but not as I actually am or appear.
    What a universal theme! I loved this story. Sad, and sad but true.

  2. So many will relate to this; a bit of belly, a zit, an outbreak of coldsores. Wonderfully well written!

  3. I thought of this differently, that perhaps she was trying to hide a belly bulging from pregnancy. Which made (for me) this preoccupation with the top feel panicky. Great story. Peace…

  4. I thought it was baby anxiety too. Either way, well done!

  5. Pingback: Week #21 – Unseen « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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