Melanie Gapany

Penduline Press: The A-Line Skirt

Portfolio Categories: Writing.

This “shotgun fiction” piece was originally published in Issue 8 of The Penduline Press. Penduline is a Portland-based literary and art magazine that seeks to create a presence for emerging as well as established graphic artists and writers of sudden fiction, flash fiction, prose poetry, poetry, and short stories.It can still be read online here.

She walked into my room at 8:22 in the morning. The light at that moment was already filtering intensely through my windows and I needed to be up 20 minutes ago. Before she came in, I could smell toast burning in the kitchen. As her body slid past my door frame, so did the smell of coffee.

I closed my eyes, quickly, but I could still feel her walk up to the bed, the hem of her skirt rubbing against my arm as she set the coffee on the table next to me and walked out, her heels click-clicking on the floor as she made her exit. I sat up in bed, took the cup to my lips, and burned my tongue.

I followed her scent to the kitchen. She was wearing her black patent heels. They had a tendency to make her ankles look small but today, without tights on, they just made her legs look long, her calves look lean. Her skirt started at her knees and hugged her thighs and stomach all the way to her waistline. Her white shirt was half buttoned, half tucked in, and she had her hair in a bun. She was wearing red lipstick. I watched as she carefully took a bite of her Nutella toast, being cautious not to smear the rouge on her lips.

The smell of the hazelnut hit my nose as her eyes met mine, which coincidentally occurred just as she scooped a dollop with her slender pointer finger out of the jar. She didn’t blink, she stared into my eyes as I watched her take the chocolate to her mouth, wrap her lips around her finger and exhale deeply through her nose.

I forgot why I was in the kitchen. I wasn’t hungry anymore. She knew I shouldn’t be looking at her like that, but she knew I wouldn’t stop. She knew that once she left, I would go back to my room, and sit on my bed with a partner-less sock. She knew I would be closing my eyes and thinking of her while opening that hazelnut spread. She knew that I would moan softly at the nutty scent of it, at the thought of her mouth around her finger. She knew I would feel guilty later that night, when we sat around the table for dinner, watching her fawn over my dad, watching her go into his room.

I wonder if she will still make me toast when I have to call her “Mom.”