Spinning China by Grey Johnson

There was not a blinding moment. Cheryl liked to imagine that there was one, the instant before the big event that changed everything. She liked to think of him having a split second of regret, so that afterward, he would be forever aware of the harm he had done.

But it didn’t happen. He slept through the entire thing, after being saturated at party, and rolled into the car by a friend. They swerved about in the night, ignoring a stop sign. Severed his aorta. Bled out clueless, his pals said, shaking their heads, while drinking beer on the porch. Oblivious.

She went to bed before the last consoling acquaintance left, exhausted enough to go to sleep in spite of all the chatter in the rooms downstairs. Her bones knew they were being pushed into the mattress by a dream, but from the outside, she seemed blessedly unaware.

In this dream, he was desperate to make her laugh, running about spinning china on the ends of sticks. She begged him to keep the dishes from crashing. All his unpredictable movement made her want to escape. She felt trapped with him in a scorching white room, crying, “Stop, and be yourself again.”

“Here,” he said, “take these. They’ll make you feel better”. She opened her hand, expecting aspirin, but when she looked down, there was a stunned moment, and a communion wafer, marked with the image of a roadside cross.

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15 Comments

Filed under Grey Johnson

15 responses to “Spinning China by Grey Johnson

  1. The roadside cross and the dream worked well together. Nicely done.

  2. I love this. Bones being pushed down onto the mattress. Great writing.

  3. The voice is so wonderfully neutral through this, as if reporting through some horrific events. And the dream is a perfect ending.

  4. Startling image at the end.

  5. I like that even the non-dream parts of this have a dream-like quality, as if the tragedy has sent her into a detached haze. An excellent telling.

  6. Randal Houle

    wow. what great images relating to the theme. especially the end. powerful and effective dream sequence in such a short space.

  7. Strong stuff, and most excellent writing. I couldn’t think this up in a lifetime. Love it. Peace…

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

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