04 March 2010

"All of Me" #Fridayflash

“Jesus, would you just listen to me?” I felt my voice rise, which was exactly what I didn’t want to do. He triggered the defensive response. Sometimes I felt like I was shouting into the void, and other times, like I was the void.

He took in a breath and I braced myself for his belligerent scathing retort. He had two volumes: loud and ear-splitting. I stared at a random spot in the wall while he yelled so loud my face was sprayed with his spittle.

We were fighting about something. Three hours ago, I might’ve remembered. Now it was a battle of wills. Of domination and I would lose because I would give in. I always gave in because it was easier than this. This incessant spew of bullshit he thought was important. It was all important, wasn’t it?

He rarely touched me. There was a time before he’d hit a red spot in me and I’d gone black on him. He tried to convince me that he’d fallen. Why did we have to be this way?

This wasn’t love. This was prison.

I tuned back into his voice. Still screaming and stomping around. One of my ceramics hit the floor and then I was pulled off the sofa.

“LOOK AT WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!”

Oops, so careless wasn’t he. The shards cut my hands but I didn’t care. As long as I lived in this endless cycle of destruction, I’d rather be extinct.

###

Courage and valor was my conquest. I stood tall in my boots and stared straight ahead. Gone were the soft curves, replaced by steely form. Circuits snaked in and around my spine. My armor was not heavy.

“You acquiesce then soldier?”

“Yes sir,” I said smartly.

I was prepped and moved to the operating room. There, they took the last part of me and transferred the throbbing mass to a sterile tray. Inserted in its place, a titanium electric heart.

Memory fled at last of the soft, pathetic thing I used to be.

30 comments:

elizabethditty said...

Beautiful, poignant and melancholy. I love the image at the end. Very well done.

Marisa Birns said...

I've known people who fight in this manner, and it is sad and pathetic. You've captured the sentiments quite well.

So, death by transformation.

You hit hard and then you hit deep. Well done.

Anton Gully said...

"acquiesce" doesn't sound right.

Brilliant idea, don't get me wrong. But the "acquiescence" seems like it should be a triumph.

I may have picked this story up wrong though. For me it's an empowering, positive thing. I figured an abused wife escaping to the military.

Am I crazy?

Karen from Mentor said...

Yowsa. That bites, then chews, then spits you back out.

Powerful stuff m'lady.

*doffs hat*

Tony Noland said...

It's powerful in the first half, empowering in the second. It's a shame she felt she had to trade away her humanity to gain freedom and independence.

Laura Eno said...

Sad and brilliant. A life pushed into cybernetic oblivion as the only means to live.

Michael Solender said...

This wasn’t love. This was prison.

You mean there is a difference???? Great flash Carrie.

Anne Tyler Lord said...

You captured this character so well, the feelings of desolation & wanting to be dead rather than put up with this life.

The twist had me wondering if this was symbolic of how she felt, or another alien world where surgery is done in this manner - symbolic or real, this is an amazing world of yours.

Cascade Lily said...

I hope she goes back and nukes his ass.

Pamila Payne said...

This was a heavy piece. So right in there with her real, and then fly to pieces cyber punk at the end. I like the ambiguity.

antisocialbutterflie said...

Definitely haunting. I love the juxtaposition.

One little thing, I'd have liked a little more external description in the first bit so the transition to the second part wouldn't be so jarring. Unless of course it was representative of transition in mindset as well as narrative then ignore me.

Jim_Wisneski said...

Wow Carrie. . . how do you do so much without saying so much?

Another perfect tale. . . I'm sure you know that already but I'd figure I'd let you know that. . . another perfect tale! :)

Jim

Cathy Olliffe said...

What Tony said.
Also, your story about the crappy relationship she was in was all too raw and real.
I imagine Linda Hamilton in this piece, taking it up the yin-yang at the beginning and then kicking some Terminator butt at the end.
Well said!

stina8753 said...

Love it, as usual. Powerful emotions without having to spell it out, nice jarring contrast, and just flat-out great storytelling. :)

Linda said...

That titanium heart could be an antipsychotic or any other heart-numbing substance. Powerful little flash... Peace, Linda

Draco Torre said...

Ooh, cyborg warrior.

Benjamin Solah said...

I liked this.

I almost felt myself flinch with her and I agree with elizabeth, love the final metaphor in the end.

jakobscarnival said...

“Gone were the soft curves…” So much sadness. I thought the ending was horrific rather than empowering. It seemed cold and empty. Intriguing.

Sulci Collective said...

"This wasn't love, this was prison" and "I'd rather be extinct" are wonderful lines. They still didn't tip me off to the second part though, didn't see that coming and that isn't always easy to do. Well done.

Marc Nash

Diandra said...

Fascinating, how much sh*** people will put up with only so they can stay in an unhealthy relationship. I think you captured most of it quite well.

dan powell said...

Great ending - it suggests so much more than it shows.

Jodi MacArthur said...

I loved the metaphor the ending represented. Brilliant Carrie.

John Wiswell said...

First, the joke response to our opening paragraph...

Jesus: No.

Now the real response...

I agree with Anton that "acquiesce" feels wrong there. The armor not being heavy doesn't feel triumphant enough either - better if it's heavy and it doesn't matter because of strength. The first half jumps around a lot in voice, but it works better like you've got more of a grasp on it. Does that make sense?

Eric J. Krause said...

That's one way to get out of an abusive relationship. Well written!

Dan said...

I wanna be a robot, too! I wanna be a robot, too!

An all-killing, no-feeling robotic death-machine.

ganymeder said...

Didn't expect the scifi twist at the end. Well done.

thebokchoy said...

So, Jesus was a robot? I could see it.

Kristy Baxter said...

I'm late to the party, but I come bearing cheese, so all is forgiven, right? ;)

You, my dear, are the queen of twists. You tore out MY heart with this one. So where's my robotic replacement heart? GIMME.

Final thoughts: quietly explosive, then empowering in a sad way. A study in contradictions.

PJ said...

I took the ending literally in my first reading, but then after reconsidering and reading thru the comments, it seems like it can really take on so many meanings. It can be literal, metaphorical, spiritual or somewhere in between as in the antipsychotic that Linda mentions. I love that it's open to interpretation - well done.

~Tim said...

"Why did we have to be this way?"

Now THAT's a good question. Very powerful words throughout.