Sunday 5 June 2022

Portrait of Jorge - Flash Fiction by Janice D. Soderling


Portrait of Jorge


He was a cure for her boredom; well, not exactly a cure, more a diversion, a distraction to interrupt her tedium. When she tired of him she rang a bell and returned him to Nurse who shuffled in wordlessly, took his hand and shuffled him out of Paradise. 

During those glorious hours, minutes, seconds he was with her, he did everything to please her, was a clown, a toady, a suitor. Sometimes he was allowed to stay for lunch, or high tea, instances fragile as thin ice, evanescent as hoarfrost on a windowpane, for she could turn instantly from warm laughter to a cold brittleness without him understanding why. So he did everything to please her, was receptive to each shifting whim and, like a chameleon, took on her current mood. 

He was not allowed to call her Mother. She was Magda. 

Sometimes he brushed her long hair, laughing as static electricity made it lift and fly, long strands stood almost perpendicular to her head; he was bewitched. 

Or he held her pretty, ringed hands, until she withdrew them haughtily, and frowned at something distant. At other times he sat quietly, knowing that she had forgotten him completely and was absorbed in her own thoughts. At such times he strained to mentally eavesdrop on her mood, silently willing her to return to their enchanted enclave, a space where she saw him and allowed him to love her utterly. 

Small wonder then, that when he grew to manhood, he was completely at the mercy of any and every lovely woman he encountered. 

He turned twenty, thirty, fifty, seventy. Magda, though dead for decades, was regularly resurrected in each vain, capricious, and beautiful woman who crossed his path.

Janice D. Soderling has published poems, flash, short stories, translations and essays in hundreds of print and online venues. Her most recent collection of poetry is titled "Rooms & Closets."


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