Pebbles and Water
Before I was born, in my mother’s stomach, God filled my mouth with pebbles.
After, as a child, I watched television with my father. He liked the obscure. Together, we watched films where mouths spit hard words and people put needles in their arms. I held my breath and bit down on the rocks in my cheeks.
Don’t make him remember you’re a child.
Once we watched a short film in black and white. A woman was hospitalized for thinking she was a dolphin. The woman never said words. The hospital room had hard lines and shadows that trapped the woman. I think she may have screamed and bit so the people in white coats with nice haircuts thought she was crazy. Those of us on the other side of the television knew she just missed the water.
The film ended with the woman escaping. She broke out of the window, then swam in the ocean. She didn’t have her gown on anymore, so I could see her breasts and the fur between her legs.
The rocks rolled around in my mouth. They were cool and grainy and rubbed against my teeth. We waited for the credits to end then my father turned off the television and slapped his knee.
“It’s late. Time for bed.”
Under my covers I slipped my hand under the elastic of my pant’s waist. The space between my legs was smooth. Pulling myself up and reaching for the glass of water on my nightstand, I stretched the elastic and sprinkled droplets of water against my smoothness.
Settling back into bed, waves edged toward me until I was submerged. Pebbles of every size fell from my mouth and tumbled aimlessly into darkness. I drifted, my hair tentacles stretching outward, while filtered sunlight brushed against my limbs. From somewhere, was a dolphin’s muffled clicks.
Elena Murphy was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her BA in Social Work at San Francisco State University and currently resides in Sacramento, CA. She won first place in Writer Advice’s 2016 Flash Fiction Contest and her work has appeared in an anthology by 2Leaf Press.