Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Eclipse - Flash Fiction
My son’s drawing from the nursery had pride of place of the refrigerator. It probably still does. Just I am not coincident with that fridge anymore. Having climbed into an icebox all of my own with the divorce. That cold-storage of permafrosted love which had once thawed child me into an tepid adult.
I did manage to snatch an image of the daub on my camera phone. Before my ex removed me permanently from the house with ice tong fingers, while her free hand pincered her nostrils closed. Apparently I smelt more mephitic than whatever vegetation was putrefying in the fridge’s salad compartment, because she refused to provide our son a balanced diet, instead of a sugar-coated and salted quiet life.
I had to get one of my nieces to load up the image on to my desktop and serve as the screensaver. The resolution wasn’t great, but his palette of coloured crayons illuminated the whole workstation. Pixels brighter than nuclear fusion. Daddy (stick man), (big-stick wielding) Mummy (cropped), beautiful boy (cherubic, seraphic angel), house (forfeited by mulct), tree (fit for a gibbet) and the sun improbably haloing the lot of us. It never failed to uplift me. Except when even the screensaver could no longer save its diminishing energy and the computer winked itself out. If I was in the room, I would rush to stroke the mouse and revive it. Mouth to mouth resuscitation as I planted a kiss on to the boy’s gaily coloured image of the illusory intact. But when night finally culled my own energies, the monitor was left to blinker itself and snatch him from me. Except we romped and capered together undimmed in my dreams.
She denied me updates. Both digitally captured and verified in the flesh. Reports from the school and sporting medals garnered. I hired my new best friend, expert counsel. At his behest I kept a calendar of broken arrangements. I maintained a catalogue of petty cruelties. I devised a register of behaviours deemed detrimental to his development. I made an inventory of lies and calumnies she got him to parrot down the phone, or by mispelled SMS text. My legal docket was overflowing in my computer’s dock. Folders spilling out into the body of my monitor. Each grey-blue rectangle eclipsing another segment of the screensaver. Dead pixels. I was losing him even as I fought tooth and nail to keep hold of him. My screen was saving nothing. Least of all the dying of the light.