Repeated Cycle [Flash Nonfiction]

By Bernard Grant

Morning. Early morning. So early you haven’t yet burned your hand on the stove or spilled hot tea on your sweater, scalding your belly, which, like your hair, could use a trim. The flat tire light hasn’t blemished your dashboard on your way to work, and you haven’t stepped in a puddle of piss headed inside. Not yet. You’re not at work, which means you’re also not dressing and cleaning grown men who play with toys and piss themselves. Not yet. Instead, you’re getting up with the sun.

The raised blinds above your bed reveal the sky blushing over the houseline. The sun rises, you are rising with it from your bed and are as awake as it is. Almost.

You go through your routine. Write for an hour. Dress. Teeth and hair, heat the kettle. Eat. By the time you’re in the car, sipping tea, it’s bright out, or as bright as Western Washington in January can be. Bright enough to drive through the haze of fog that fogs what’s ahead: morning rush, Mount Rainier, ten underpaid hours.

Ten underpaid hours in which you take the guys on errands, do chores, do laundry, do cooking, and, mostly, read. Grateful for the one perk of your job. Excess of downtime.

Ten underpaid hours later, the sun has turned in before you make it home. Though you’re not far behind—the tears in your eyes brought on by yawns. The bed is made up and you shove aside the covers. Alone, with no one to ask you if you’re okay, you gaze at thought twisters, twisting on the ceiling.

You and the sun, together you rise and fall, a repeated cycle. Washed and rinsed. You heard somewhere that if the sun moved, we’d either freeze or burn, depending on its direction, on your location, and you wonder where you’re headed, how many more checks you’ll see from this job, how many more mornings you’ll wake to these sherbet walls, lime-green and orange sandwiching a slice of white.



Bernard Grant is an MFA candidate at the Rainier Writing Workshop. His work has been selected for publication by The Doctor TJ Eckleburg ReviewBlue Lyra ReviewThe Nervous Breakdown,and elsewhere.