Rash Reading by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

I got a rash under my wedding ring. I took it off and filed for divorce the next day. Mike begged me to stay. But when you can’t trust your judgement, you have to trust the signs.

Mommy had a rash like that. I used to see it in the shower. People think it’s strange we washed together until I moved away, but when she stood behind me and shampooed hair, I knew daddy hadn’t broken anything important. Was it wrong? I can’t trust my judgement.

At university I dated a man with long dark hair, but my roommates said he treat me badly, so I never spoke to him again. They set me up with a man who took me to LDS ward meetings. If I wanted to sleep in late instead, he would yell. But everyone said he was nice, so I stopped complaining. When I dropped my favorite mug one morning, I should have known it was a sign.

The next week, I had the flu and couldn’t get up, so he beat me. I called an ambulance after he left. I never went back to his dorm, and my roommates kept him away from mine. Then I met Mike.

After I left, the rash spread to the palm of my hand. Mike took me back and bought me hydrocortisone cream. The rash went away. When you can’t trust your judgement, you have to trust the signs.


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Filed under Elizabeth Kate Switaj

6 responses to “Rash Reading by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

  1. Al McDermid

    Both sad and clever, clever in the subtle exposition of the abuse; an excellently crafted tale, telling so much with so little.

  2. I wonder how often her screwed up parents repeated that to her. Great piece of writing.

  3. Great voice in this, credible and so telling of more than incidents and reactions. Nice.

  4. So much of a life packed in such a small space. Powerful. Peace…

  5. Pingback: Week #29 – The palm of your hand | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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