It’s Relative

by rthieme on November 11, 2005

[This is “flash fiction,” a new category generated from the fact that smaller texts are more congenial to online reading at the moment. This was published in several online magazines – Words on Walls and The Listening Eye – and withdrawn because of prior pubication from others – Abyss & Apex and Liquid Ohio. Published in and around 2005.]

It’s Relative

by Richard Thieme

The sheer mass of her came through the room like a dark bronze horse, bending light from the lamps, turning everything into smears of light. Then the sofa began to slide slowly down the tilting floor, picking up speed and going faster and faster until it required an immense amount of energy to drag myself out of its path, the momentum of the sofa squared as it crashed through the doorway, breaking off its arms, splintering the doorframe.

She had merely walked in from the kitchen with her hi smile but had bent my crooked heart into a J-shape and held it hooked as if her hand had grabbed my necktie and jerked me off the floor, holding me suspended in the air until it was clear that nothing was under me, nothing at all, no firm ground, no, nothing.


Shattering walls and windows into shards of color and light. Her hair was massively black and her blurred smile made me brace against the gale force of her immeasurable pull which captured me in orbit around and around and around I went in a smoothing ellipse. So that was that. I am an asteroid. All she said was Hi and she had me.

Once in orbit I became aware that I was moving forward. I could only see forward. To one outside it might have looked as if I were circling but in fact I was moving forward.

I exhaled. Remembering I had been here before helped. That was a crow-bar, leverage that enabled me to resist her extraordinary force. Once captured, you never forget the feeling of freefall, the vertigo of always falling forward as the fun-house mirror of your mental world collapses into an event scene framed by her simply coming into the room from the kitchen and going through the room and out of the room through the shattered door, leaving light airy feathers of blurred light falling like falling leaves behind.

Her smile hung in the void like the grin of the Cheshire cat and widened from her disappearing face, a smoke ring dissipating in the darkness.


The sound of my too-late hi could not be heard. The wind roared, drapes blew in through the broken windows, table lamps flew across the room. She the poltergeist, me the disturbed mind. The little black laquered table trembled and flipped onto its side. I might have been blown through the door too but turned aslant of the enormous force field, bent but aware of the intended trajectory. It’s intuitive, you know. That gathered more leverage. Then I could back off in the residual disturbance as the wind died. She was outside now, the force field weaker. My heart beat more slowly although faster than if I had been completely at rest.

I had been collected and put on a shelf, a forgotten trophy: my frame dragged, my destiny inflected.

The dust settles. Twilight glides. The room reassembles into the still and prescient moment between rebirth.

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